Just because Tiger Woods won a couple of tournaments this season a lot of people, especially sports writers, are ready to hand him the U.S. Open. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not ready to jump on the Tiger Woods bandwagon yet. Not that I ever was on it to begin with.
It's not that I don't think he is one of the best players alive and possibly of all time, because he probably is. He tied Jack Nicklaus for the second most career wins, at Jack's own tournament, at 73. A big difference is that Tiger did at the age of 36, while Jack was 46. It took Jack 25 years to accomplish this, while Tiger has done it over a period of 17 years. Before his little three-year streak where he hadn't won a tournament, Tiger was on track to become the all-time tournament winner, beating Sam Snead's record of 82-career wins in almost half the time. Snead's final win came after after playing the game for 30 years. It seems that before his wife -- excuse me, ex-wife -- beat him with a 9-iron, the only person that could beat Tiger was himself.
A reason that I never took a ride on the Tiger train has to do with his attitude toward the game itself. There's no doubt that he has a passion to win. But it seems that a lot of the time he has a disregard for the game and its history itself. It could be that it was because has won so many times at such as young age. He won two tournaments in his first year as a professional in 1996 and his first major, the 2007 Masters, a year later. By the time he was 30, Tiger had won 54 PGA tournaments including 12 majors.
He just talked and had this attitude about him that he felt he was bigger than the game itself. While viewership did go down right after he walked away while he was "mending," other golfers, such as my daughter's favorite, Rory McIlory, have stepped up to become the new fan-favorites. After three years of being seen without a winner's check, the game seems to be moving and growing without him.
Even though I'm not a fan, I have to admit that I smile and get a little excited when he make a long putt or chips in the ball like he did in the 2005 Masters. It really does get the blood flowing when he gives his Tiger shout and does a double-fist pump.
But before I say he's back, Tiger Woods is going to have to more than win a regular tour tournament. If he can find a way to win the upcoming U.S. Open from wire-to-wire then I may say he's back.
Email Manny Fils at firstname.lastname@example.org.