Monday, March 30, 2009
Tiger is back!! Woods Wins at Bayhill
The legend that is Tiger Woods continues to grow. Woods came to the 72nd hole of the 2009 Arnold Palmer Invitational tied with Sean O’hair at 4-under par. As darkness began to descend on the Bayhill Club and Lodge in Orlando, FL, Woods stood over a 15 foot birdie putt for his first win since returning to the PGA Tour from season ending knee surgery after the 2008 U.S. Open.
Tiger stepped up to his ball and with his steely determination and grit he rolled the putt into the center of the cup and claimed his 6th Arnold Palmer Invitational title and his 66th career PGA Tour win. What makes this win so amazing if how eerily reminiscent it is to his victory in last years Arnold Palmer Invitational when he rolled in a 22 ft 2 inch putt for birdie to defeat Bart Bryant on the 72nd hole.
As I watched the tournament I couldn’t help but think back to the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Club in La Jolla, CA. Tiger made two clutch putts on the 18th hole in the final round and the playoff against Rocco Mediate to claim his 14th Major Title. What is it about Tiger Woods and big putts? Does he just have an innate ability to make the big putts when it counts?
I am sure the replays of Tigers winning putt on the 18th green can be seen over and over again on every major television and cable outlet, but in my opinion the most crucial putt Tiger made yesterday was a 15 foot par putt for at the 15th hole that kept him in the hunt for the title. Time and time again Tiger has proven that he is one of the greatest par putters in the games history. I was also impressed by his third shot into the par 4 16th hole. After hitting an errant drive into the deep rough, Tiger punched out and left himself 101 yards from the hole. He took a wedge and hit an amazing shot to within 2 feet of the cup and again made a great par putt. The winning putts and shots make for great theatre and memories, but it’s the up and downs and big par and even bogey putts that get lost in the shuffle.
Tiger Woods continues to cement his name into the folklore of modern sports. Woods has reached a pantheon of greatness that very few athletes have ever attained. Names like Jordan, Gretzky and Armstrong come to mind when I think of athletes that have transcended their sports to become iconic figures in the hearts and minds of sports fans everywhere.
As the first Major of the year approaches in less than 2 weeks, all eyes will on Tiger Woods and Augusta National Golf Club. Now that we know that the knee is fine and that Tigers game has returned to form, will we witness Tiger win his 5th green Jacket and his 15th major at the 2009 Masters? Well, only time will tell and I will be there to tell you all about it.
(images courtesy of Getty)
"keep it in the short grass"
Edward S. Wanambwa
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