Even if Tiger does lose the playoff, this past weekend will stand as one of those incredible moments in sports.
Saturday, young Eldrick finished eagle, birdie, eagle to take the lead. Sunday, he gave it back on the first hole. And up until the 18th hole, he played like I could beat him, easily. He was that bad. But then, the 18th came around again. Tiger birdied the final hole to tie.
Being a golfer, I can’t believe he meant to hit his first two shots on that par five. They were lousy to say the least. I mean, I would have taken them, because I’m not a golfer with Tiger Woods ability. I just love the game, so advancing the ball by any means possible, is generally what I do on the golf course.
But not Tiger. He’s trained us to expect massive fades, towering hooks, stingers off the tee. His approach is perfect, placing the ball exactly where he wants it, in order to attack the hole. He reads the green the way I read the newest James Patterson novel. I look at the green and see grass, not a trench leading to the cup. If I had putted that last putt...the way it danced and wiggled and lipped into the cup...it would not have gone in, period. I would have finished second, end of story. But Tiger’s ball...jumps, bumps, takes two spins around the lip and then buries itself into the cup. Unbelievable!
He scrambles a lot more than it seems, because sometimes his shots don’t work. He is extremely versatile. When he does get lemons, he makes lemonade...a delicious blend of yellow fruit with a little rum mixed in.
I watch Tiger just to learn how you’re supposed to play, to give me a mental picture of what I’m supposed to do when I hit the greens.
You know you have to visualize the shot in order to pull it off. I have to watch Tiger’s perfect shots, as well as his not-so-perfect shots. attempt to practice them and then attempt to visualize them, then attempt to pull them off.
This has worked for me with my wedges. But I’m ready to get rid of my driver. I think drivers are for men. I use a fairway seven and get great distance. I need more focus on my irons. They’re not bad, just inconsistent. Guess I need to play more often. If only I could afford to play more often.
But back to Tiger. I don’t know if he’s gonna win today. He should. Rocco Mediate is ranked 158th in the world, but he is loose and has nothing to lose and that is the most dangerous kind of opponent.
Any given Sunday or playoff Monday....anything can happen. I think inwardly Rocco’s glad he’s only facing a one legged Tiger instead of the predator that we all know young Eldrick to be.