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Red Shirt Redemption: Tiger Wins His Fifth Green Jacket

The chase for the Golden Bear is on.  Tiger is on the hunt and while this would be way more epic as a viral video between two animals intent on slaughtering each other in the wild, we’ll settle for Tiger Woods making a play at Jack Nicklaus’ record (winning 18 majors).  We all love a good chase but Tiger Woods winning his fifth masters felt special for many of us who love the game of golf.

There may be no more iconic image in sports than a red shirt on Sunday.  For years, when the rest of the tour would see Tiger approaching one on round 4, the red shirt symbolized that he was out for blood and he would take no prisoners.  This time around, in the final pairing and trailing Francesco Molinari by two strokes, Tiger seemed to return with the confidence and swagger we witnessed in his peak form.  His bogey putt on 18 on round put him at 13 strokes under and earned him yet another green jacket. 

As age has seemingly begun to catch Tiger Woods, he now begins to face the acolyte created by his initial dominant reign.  Guys like Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are the new faces of an increasingly lean, strong and fit golf class that simply rip balls down the fairway.  Tiger at 43 has adapted his game and now hold his 15th major championship.  Moments after the put sunk on 18 for Tiger, it seemed the entire sporting world rejoiced.  This win, simply felt different this time around.

In an era where we have more and more access to athletes, musicians and movie stars we get continually let down as their flaws come to the surface.  It has become increasingly difficult to judge the creeps while also not defining everyone as their worst day.  In some cases, it is absolutely clear and criminal. Harvey Weinstein, is a piece of human trash.  Tiger Woods is someone who is flawed.  His infidelity destroyed his marriage and probably hurt a lot of people who were close to him.  We laughed and scoffed when he checked himself into rehab for sex addiction.  However, it’s clear that a man who seemingly had it all was tormented by the fact that in some ways he was still unhappy.

It took Tiger falling for us to realize that he was in fact a mortal being.  There was no more a human moment than Tiger holding his son in a tight embrace in celebration that way he and his father hugged after winning that first Masters Championship all those years ago.  Tiger Woods, flawed man, father trying to be his best, a man who never fit in in his industry, a dude who’s been charged with reckless driving.  These are the ways that even the most flawed in us see ourselves in a champion.  In the twilight of his career, as improbable as it seems Tiger the man seems more popular than the Golf God could ever be.

His win on Sunday had casual fans and golf enthusiasts alike swarming television sets and crowding bars. Augusta 2019 will be remembered for the storm that caused a Sunday Morning start.  It will also be remembered as the time we saw that the man who first brought us the game is not done yet!  This was a true redemption story and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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Golf

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