A national debate that has gone on for 11 years has finally reached its end. I would not even venture to guess how many conversations at golf clubs, local bars, or even within families at home centered round the following question. Will Tiger Woods ever win another Major?
I am sure it is in the millions.
We received an answer Sunday afternoon as Tiger won his fifth Masters title, a victory that came more than a decade after his last championship. A great deal has changed for the iconic figure in the 11 years since he claimed victory at the 2008 U.S. Open.
The 43-year-old’s success in overcoming personal and professional adversity is a story unlike any other for someone that, at one time, was the best ever at his sport.
Professionally, he struggled as a competitor over much of the past decade. He suffered a back injury that caused him to miss major tournaments, and likely led to his 2017 arrest for driving under the influence of prescription painkillers. Personally, the “adversity” he overcame was much more sensational and very public.
It all started in 2009 when between one and two dozen women came forward to allege that they had had affairs with the golfer while he was married. There was the car accident, in which Woods crashed his Escalade near his house and was pulled from the vehicle by his wife.
The attention caused Tiger to lose sponsors and fans. Adversity can draw people closer to public figures. But not when the individual causes the adversity.
Woods spent his entire adult life prior to 2009 attempting to create an image of perfection. That was shattered quickly and it has taken an entire decade to capture the nation once again.
Those who watched the Masters throughout the weekend had to see that virtually every single spectator at Augusta was rooting for Tiger. The roars that erupted following a great shot were louder than ever.
Tiger has come full circle. The new debate now centers round the possibility of Tiger catching and passing Jack Nicklaus’ total of 18 major victories. He has 15 now. Three more to tie and four to surpass the Golden Bear.
There are four Majors annually. If Tiger can stay healthy he will tee it up at 27 majors by the time he reaches 50 years old.
I was one who always thought he would win one more. But I am not sure he can win four more. His younger peers are as good as he is at this point in his career. But he has now proven he can win again and that one should never count him out.
It Was Inevitable
As previously discussed in these pages, Luke Walton did not have a chance to return as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. He was fired last week from the post. Fired after team president Magic Johnson quit his post. Reportedly, Magic did not want to let Walton go. So he left. A few days later, Walton was let go.
It is becoming more and more clear that LeBron James is calling the shots for the Lakers. I never would have thought that anyone could override Magic. So, I feel it is pretty safe to assume LeBron will be deciding who his next coach is.
The Lakers (LeBron) announced that they are interviewing three individuals this week for the job. Monty Williams, Juwan Howard, and Ty Lue will make pitches to LeBron and the Lakers.
I am not sure why Williams is on the list. He did not fare very well with the New Orleans Pelicans in his last gig. Howard surprised me but it makes some sense. It would be a risk bringing in someone that has never been a head coach this late in LeBron’s career. But he did play with LeBron in Miami and played in college with general manager Rob Pelinka at Michigan. Vegas actually had him as the favorite to get the job on April 2nd.
Lue is still the favorite in my eyes. James obviously likes him from their Cleveland days together. He would be the safest hire for that very reason. After all, they did win a championship together.
Oh, let me share this breaking news. Walton was hired a few days after his firing by the Sacramento Kings. Look for a renewed rivalry between these two franchises.
It Is All About The Money
I read last week that Tennessee head basketball coach and former Lenoir-Rhyne basketball player Rick Barnes said that he would have taken the then-vacant UCLA coaching position if the Bruins would have paid his $5 million dollar buyout from the Volunteer program.
Those candid words surprised me. There was really no need to share that thought. I wonder what his returning players were thinking when they heard those words? Something along the lines of ‘is coach really with us.’