Every single time I, or any other golf writer, has written anything about Tiger Woods in the last few years there is one stock response.
It’s usually along the lines of: “There ARE other players, you know?”
Or: “You’re OBSESSED with Tiger!”
And my personal favourite, and this was actually written under one my articles once: “No one cares about Tiger Woods!”
A large part of my job is to analyse who is reading what and why – and I reminded my new friend that I literally have evidence that rather a large number of people do, in fact, care about Tiger Woods.
As everyone keeps telling you: He doesn’t move the needle. He IS the needle.
For context, this is where he was last summer – tweeting about his new bloody pool table…
New cloth for the pool table. pic.twitter.com/ARcsiGNmuH
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) July 21, 2017
…hanging out with another GOAT…
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) July 30, 2017
…and diving for lobster, like you do…
Nothing like free diving with the kids for lobster at Albany. pic.twitter.com/QgdvrMYnPX
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) August 4, 2017
Then, precisely 388 days ago, some encouraging news…
Dr. gave me the ok to start pitching pic.twitter.com/tboq1L3Xdn
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) August 31, 2017
Fast forward a couple of months…
Smooth iron shots pic.twitter.com/v9XLROZnfW
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) October 7, 2017
Then one week later…
Making Progress pic.twitter.com/I3MZhJ74kI
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) October 15, 2017
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) October 23, 2017
Even when he was posting these videos of himself hitting shots, the general feeling was that he would still not be back for a long time – maybe another year or so. To think he’d be returning at the Hero World Challenge in December – let alone finishing in the top 10 – was unthinkable.
Since then, his results read as follows: T23, MC, 12, T2, T5, T32, T55, T11, T23, MC, T4, T6, T31, 2, T40, T24, T6, 1.
In that time, Woods has made an astonishing rise through the world rankings. When he made his comeback in the Bahamas, he had fallen as low as 1,199. Now he is a PGA Tour winner for the 80th time and up to World No. 13.
Put your calculators away – it’s a rise of 1,186 places. In less than eight months.
Oh, and he’s been promoted from one of Jim Furyk’s vice-captains to one of Jim Furyk’s wildcard picks for the Ryder Cup.
All this from a man who has had more back surgeries than I’ve had eagles, and, in 2015, said: “I’m done. I won’t play again.”
So now he’s back in the winners’ circle, what about the majors?
I’ve always maintained he will win another of the big four and I’m not about to change that opinion any time soon. And if he wins one in the next year or so, I reckon he beats Jack. (Don’t @ me.)
Sky Sports Golf pundit Wayne Riley quipped during the final round at East Lake that Woods “isn’t just an amazing athlete, he’s superhuman”. He then quipped: “He might even be an alien.”
He’s certainly out of this world.
And if you are one of these people that doesn’t believe golf needs Tiger, check out the the astonishing scenes as he approached 18 on Sunday night…
Crowd on 18 to watch Tiger close out the Tour Championship ? pic.twitter.com/12BKuc7o79
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 23, 2018
Sure, golf doesn’t need Tiger Woods. But it’s a damn sight better with him around.
He’s the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. So let’s cherish him while he’s still here, because there might not be another like him in your lifetime.