The Tiger has begun to roar again and the other golfers better watch out!
Wearing his faithful red T-shirt of old, Tiger Woods walked down the 18th fairway at East Lake, Atlanta, closing in on a momentous stage in his life.
This would be the turning point in his career. A year ago he was a desperate man, in severe pain, trying to make a comeback to the game which gave him fame.
The time had come. The par putt in the 18 had to drop and it did. The thousands who had thronged there yelled “Tiger, Tiger, Tiger”. The champion of yore was back in business.
It took five years for this PGA title. But the timing was just right. With the Ryder Cup starting today, Woods gets another chance to prove it was no fluke. The Master was back in the fold again, albeit a little mellower and wiser.
This would not have been possible at all. A year ago, Woods was seriously wondering whether he could ever manage to play again. The mind was strong, but the body weak.
There was talk that he would probably retire. But there was still that tiny spark which saw hope in igniting the champion in him again.
He continued to play, often finishing in an embarrassing manner. Champions are made of sterner stuff and he was a golfing legend.
Slowly, he began to break the pain barrier and some of the shots began to come back. There was a marked improvement over the last six months and the whimper was turning into a small roar.
Woods nailed it in Atlanta. Now his opponents will once again feel a sense of fear when he plays. There are many among them for whom Tiger was a boyhood hero they may be in awe of him.
There is no doubt that the Woods factor will play a big part in the final outcome of the Ryder Cup. It is fervently hoped that Woods has learnt a lesson after being sidelined with injury and his self-destruction trip.
The battle with sex addiction and drugs reduced Woods to a pathetic state. The loss of respect and mockery made the legend cut a sorry figure.
There was only one way forward for Woods at that stage. Either return to the game and regain the loss of pride or wallow in self-pity.
Thankfully he took the right choice to redeem himself by fighting back. He had to fight an almost broken body where his dicey back wouldn’t allow him to even bend.
After many delays, he finally returned to golf. It wasn’t a joy ride at all and it took him 1, 876 days since his last win to return to winning ways.
He was in such shambles that he plummeted to 1, 199th in the rankings at one point.
The world will focus on Woods today as he tees up for the USA today. Will the fairytale return sustain or will it wither away into another spell of frustration? Time and Tiger will tell.