Ever since Tiger has been on tour and I have been old enough to know what is going on, I have been watching Tiger Woods play golf. Living in Las Vegas during my childhood, golf is very popular there and was on all the televisions at restaurants whenever he was playing. Arguably my favorite memory of watching Tiger as a kid was when he won The Open Championship and the PGA Championship in 2006, then proceeding to win the PGA Championship the very next year. He defeated Chris DiMarco by two strokes in The Open Championship in 2006, defeated Shaun Micheel by five strokes in the 2006 PGA Championship, and defeated Woody Austin by two strokes in the 2007 PGA Championship. I was looking forward to watching him win more majors as I grew up.
After I moved to Iowa, Tiger’s major tournament successes came to a halt. His last major win was in 2008 when he defeated Rocco Mediate in three playoff holes at the U. S. Open. However, I continued to lay on my couch in my living room and watch him sink birdie putts and give fist pumps while the crowd roars like a lion. Along with most golf fans around the world, I asked myself a question. Will Tiger ever win another major? He certainly has the talent and experience to win his fifteenth major, but will everything come together for four consecutive days? I watched him give his best effort major tournament after major tournament, but he never came out on top.
Last month I had my first ever experience watching Tiger Woods in person. My father and I traveled to East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta, Georgia to watch Tiger and other PGA Tour professionals. East Lake Golf Course, a Donald Ross design, has been home to the PGA Tour Championship every year since 2005. On September twenty-third, the final day of the tournament, we stood by the number one tee box and watched the players hit their opening tee shots. Simply standing by the players and listening to their thoughts was one of the coolest experiences in my life. It was a chilly morning, and the smell of fresh-cut grass was in the air. At 12:05 PM, Brooks Koepka teed off with the reigning Open Championship winner Francesco Molinari. ‘DING’, Brooks Koepka blistered his drive 324 yards down the middle of the fairway then turned to his caddy and said, “I caught that one off the toe a bit. ” In complete shock, I turned to my father with my jaw dropped to the ground. The fact that he did not hit that ball as good as he could have yet it still went 324 yards still blows my mind to this day. That demonstrates how skilled PGA Tour players are and how much time they dedicate to this game they love.
My father and I remained standing on the number one tee box until Tiger Woods’ tee time, which was 2:05 PM with the European phenom, Rory McIlroy. “On the tee, from Cypress California, Tiger Woods. ” The crowd, including my father and I, erupted as Tiger tipped his cap and proceeded to place his tee and golf ball between the hitting markers. Hearing the golf ball getting pounded my Tiger’s driver sounded like a baseball getting sent out of the ballpark, and tons of cheering and yelling followed. The ball started out on the left side then cut to the right, landing in the middle of the fairway. In a situation like that, leading the tournament after three days, the opening tee shot is the hardest part of your final round.
As Tiger approached the eighteenth green, he knew he would win the tournament, and it showed by him smiling and tipping his cap to the gallery of fans surrounding him. His approach shot ended up six feet and ten inches from the hole, and all he needed was to two-putt to win the tournament by 2 strokes over American golfer Billy Horschel. As the ball struck his putter, fans were yelling “GET IN THE HOLE!” The putt looked good the whole way but unfortunately slid left and missed by inches. Tiger then tapped in for par and was overtaken by emotions he had not felt in a long time. Seeing Tiger complete his epic comeback to the sport of golf will be a memory that will last a lifetime.