WHEN Tiger Woods won the Chevron Challenge in 2011, he cited the lyrics of LL Cool J, “Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years,” in answer to a question of whether he is back or not.
Not many understood what he said.
It was Tiger’s oblique way of saying, “Hey, I never left, fellas.”
Perhaps, it was just a matter of the game leaving him, instead?
Well, in a way, yes.
His game deserted him following revelations of his serial infidelities in 2009 that led to a costly divorce ($100 million settlement to his ex-wife Elin) and the exit of his blue-chip supporters except Nike.
Before that “comeback victory” in 2011, Woods drove his car into a fire hydrant in a 2009 Thanksgiving nightmare following a serious midnight spat with his wife of 13 years, that saw Elin reportedly chasing Tiger with a three-iron in hand.
Because maybe he was Tiger Woods, the No. 1 golfer in the world then, that he got away with a mere $64 fine for a minor reckless driving infraction.
It was like, he got a one-stroke penalty for causing his ball to move or something.
Since that night of Nov. 23 in 2009, Tiger Woods was never the same again. At least for two years from 2009 to the most part of 2010, he couldn’t win anymore. Just the year before that, Woods won the 2008 US Open.
And then he couldn’t win a major again, and many have started doubting his ability to equal, if not surpass, the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus. One of the stern doubters is Johnny Miller, considered one of the geniuses of the game.
“Tiger’s win streak in the majors will end at 14,” said Miller.
But with three wins this year when the Tour has just barely begun, including back-to-back victories at Doral and Bay Hill to become the winningest of all time after Sam Snead, things seem to be reshaping Tiger Woods’s way. Again.
In two weeks time, the Masters, which he won four times, will tee off in Augusta and the April 12 to 15 (Manila Time) tournament has suddenly become the hottest clubhouse talk.
Will it happen again, beginning at the Masters, Tigermania gripping the world by the neck as Tiger usually did when he was No. 1 in the world for 281 weeks—the longest reign ever—beginning June 12, 2005?
Most probably, yes.
This, even as the Shell Open, where Rory McIlroy is entered and Tiger Woods is not, ends today. A Rory victory would bring him back to the top.
But No. 1 or not going to the Masters, Tiger Woods has cemented yet again his niche as the overwhelming favorite to prevail in Augusta.
And, yes, Tiger might be back chasing Jack’s record again, but for us, we are definitely back chasing him.
It’s been that way since Tigermania begun on June 15, 1997, when Woods was barely 21 years old and was already No. 1 in the world.
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ALL IN. My heartfelt congratulations to the winners of the second Kurit Panlunggaring ed Pangasinan (second Pangasinan Literary Awards). In Youth Poetry, the winners are—1st Kim John Santillan, 2nd Krtistine Dawn B. Dudang, 3rd Ma. Angela L. Rosal. Adult Poetry—1st Jahwela Quirimit Ocay, 2nd Alma A. Nepascua, 3rd Mark Anthony B. Austria. Youth Essay—1st Angela Kate Estrada, 2nd Denson D. Padlan, 3rd Jayson D. Bustamante. Adult Short Story—1st Harvie C. Aquino, 2nd Lanie M. Tomas, 3rd Alex Romeo R. Fernandez. As per Provincial Tourism chief Malu Elduayan and Provincial administrator Raffy Baraan, the winners will receive their prizes on Pangasinan Day, April 5, at the Capitol Grounds fronting historic Lingayen Gulf from Govenor Espino and Vice Governor Calimlim. Due to insistent public demand, they will be joined on stage by Competition judges Atty. Ferdinand L. Quintos, Sergio A. Bumadilla, Santiago B. Villafania and yours truly.