Tiger and his cubs
It’s been a while since the world witnessed a historic day in golf and in sports.
Tiger Woods won his fifth Masters and his 15th major.
I still find myself replaying the final round, watching interviews and reading numerous articles written about that glorious Sunday, when the golfing gods decided to give him victory.
It brought back memories of watching Tiger at his prime with my children, who are Tiger fans like me. My son, who is playing college golf here in San Francisco, set his alarm for 6 a.m. (on a Sunday) to be able to catch the final round live.
What stayed with me the most was not the great shot Tiger hit on 16 on the final day, or the roar of the crowds after he sank the winning putt.
For me, “that moment” happened as Tiger stepped out of the 18th green after holing the winning putt and walked toward the stands.
His gaze caught that of his son Charlie’s and they locked.
It was “that moment” that made time stand still for me. I found myself teary eyed.
Even the hardest hearts had to have softened a bit as Tiger scooped his son up in his arms to give him a big bear hug.
And then came the long and tight embrace with his daughter, Sam, that seemed to last forever.
Being a father, that moment was The Masters for me.
You see golf, and sports in general, can bring out the competitiveness in each of us, especially in the elite level. But many don’t realize that if left unchecked, this competitiveness could easily feed our dark side.
In a way, because of the pressure the world had put on Tiger, I feel that it went that way for him for a while.
Yet, like all of us, he was given a second chance.
As I watched him play every tournament since his comeback last year, I couldn’t help but notice in him a deep sense of gratitude that seemed to be absent before his “fall.”
I use the word “seemed” because that sense of aloofness he used to display in the past could have very well been a mere defense mechanism put on by one who feels that he is being watched, measured and judged all the time.
It’s just incredible to see how this man has transformed. And we, who watch from the sidelines, are all better for it.
I don’t think it was for the sole reason of wanting to break the record of Jack Nicklaus that he attempted a comeback.
To be willing to put in all that effort, while in so much physical and emotional pain, and go through such a long and arduous journey that had no guarantees, was to me, unfathomable.
But what he said in one of his interviews spelled it out for me. And being a parent myself, I could definitely relate.
He said it was for his kids.
He mentioned that his children always saw him in pain every time he tried to play or do anything that was related to golf. In other words, they associated golf with pain.
He wanted to change that. And before our very eyes, he did.
Thank you, Tiger. And as one host of the Masters put it, welcome home.