As Tiger Woods tapped in his last put to win the U.S. Open yesterday, I couldn’t help but feel goosebumps. In my opinion, it was one of the most memorable sporting events that I have ever followed. “A golf event being memorable?” you ask… You could call me crazy, but to see one of the world’s most dominant athletes battle through a severe injury (a leg injury, I might add!) to triumph reminded me of an athlete by the name of Kirk Gibson…
Tiger woods triumphed on Monday, after a grueling 19 hole playoff against aged veteran Rocco Mediate. Not only did Tiger win his 14th Major golf tournament, but he did it in miraculous fashion.
It all started during the 3rd round on Saturday, on the 13th hole, as Tiger sunk a 60 foot eagle. He followed on the 17th hole by hitting his approach shot into the thick rough next to the green. But in typical Tiger fashion, he hit the ball out of the rough and straight into a hole for a birdie, to Tiger’s disbelief. Tiger capitalized on the 18th hole by sinking a 20+ foot putt for another eagle, to put him in the lead by 1 shot going into the 4th and Final round. Going into the 4th round of a Major tournament in the lead, Tiger is undefeated
Tiger started the 4th and final round with a one stroke lead, which didn’t seem much for someone that was doubled over in pain for half of the round. Tiger, who was visibly in pain throughout the Sunday round, somehow managed to stay close to Rocco Mediate going into the 18th and final hole only down by one stroke. Then, he sinks a putt to tie Rocco Mediate, to force an 18 hole playoff on Monday. This finishing put seemed to roll around the entire hole for eternity before dropping into the hole.
18 hole playoff
Tiger Woods matched up with Rocco Mediate for an epic mano a mano battle to the finish. Tiger went into the 18th hole, again, down by one stroke, and was somehow able to scratch back against Mediate, to tie him for yet another sudden death playoff hole. And the rest is history. Tiger sinks a par putt and he wins his 3rd U.S. Open, and now is only a Grand Slam away from tying Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 career Major tournaments.
As I contemplate Tiger’s performance this past weekend, I ask “is Tiger the Greatest Of All Time”? (G.O.A.T.). You may ask, “in comparison to who?”. As I look at the entire spectrum of sports, I believe that Tiger Woods is the greatest athlete ever to walk the face of the earth. I remember watching Tiger win his first Masters tournament when I was a sophomore in high school. He won by 12 strokes to become the first minority to win a Masters tournament. And lets not forget Tiger’s chip during the 2006 Masters… Sure, there are several athletes out there worthy of the G.O.A.T. designation: Babe Ruth, Muhammed Ali, Jackie Robinson, or Michael Jordan. But in my opinion, based on sheer adversity faced during a sporting event, I feel that Tiger has proven, again and again, that he is the G.O.A.T. Like Michael Jordan lighting it up when he has the flu, Tiger proved to us yesterday that he was able to gruel through a major injury to win a Major tournament. And like Kirk Gibson in the 1988 World Series, there was plenty of fist pumping at Torrey Pines…