Tiger Woods Held His Own Against A Record-Breaking Field In 1st Round of PGA Championship

Tiger Woods really doesn’t need to golf anymore. Retiring on top was an option after he won his fifth Masters in April of 2019. Coming 14 years after his last green jacket, Tiger did what many called impossible.

The PGA thanks its lucky stars every day that Tiger still has the drive and determination to go out there and compete with the strongest, youngest, most talented competitors in the world. 

Playing in the first round of the 102nd PGA Championship on Thursday, the 44-year-old Woods didn’t have his best stuff but relied on his veteran savvy and some clutch putting to shoot a formidable 68 (-2) after the first round. It was his best opening round in the 60s at a major tournament since the 2014 Open Championship. 

So he’s definitely locked in. 

Unfortunately, the entire field was on fire. 11 players shot 66 or better in the first round of the fan-less event held at Harding Park in San Francisco, which is the most in an opening round in major championship history. 

If the field continues to blaze through the course, It will be a huge task for Tiger to make up the three shots he’s behind, but he’d be the best candidate to do it on anybody’s odds board — if his back holds up.   

Overcoming certain addictions in his life was challenging, but Tiger did it. Overcoming injuries and the wear and tear on his body over the last 20 years has been harder. 

Tiger still has problems with his surgically repaired back. If anything is going to stop him at this point, it’s going to be Mother Nature, not some new young gun on the scene. 

“He looked incredibly fit and it looked like he was moving well. He’s always moving around and trying to stay loose, but the back tightens up when you stand around a lot in the middle of the round or towards the end,” said Curtis Strange, golf commentator, World Golf Hall of Fame and Virginia Sports Hall of Fame inductee. 

“But he looked really good, Strange continued. “ Even some of those tough shots in the rough, where he really had to get down and get to it, he seemed to stay down…and do that very well. “

Wherever Tiger finishes in this tournament is Ok with the general public. This is all icing on the cake for him and for every fan, TV station, organization and golf course that benefits from his colossal celebrity.  He’s already lived several versions of the American Dream. 

The Greatest Movie Ever 

Back in 2017, when Woods was drugged and sedated, sitting on the side of the road in his car, unable to communicate effectively with Jupiter police, it was the perfect, heart-wrenching Hollywood ending to a miserably tragic tale for one of America’s most iconic and culturally transformative sports figures.

It was one scene in Tiger Woods’ movie, filled with the unimaginable highs of his golf career and the downward spiral his life took after his Dad Earl passed. By the time Tiger was found unconscious in his Benz, and then subsequently arrested, in May of 2017, he was four years removed from his last tour win and 12 years removed from his last Masters title.

We all would have left the movie theater feeling empty and disappointed if the last scene was King Tiger in a drug-induced state, struggling to figure out why police lights and flashlights had engulfed him.

Thankfully, that script was blown to pieces when Tiger won The Tour Championship in 2018.  

The 2019 revamped production begins with Tiger’s lowest moment and ends with an improbable Masters Championship.

The 2020 version is really just about Tiger smelling his roses while he’s alive. The script keeps evolving as Tiger continues to challenge himself, enjoy golf and his family and in the back of his mind he hungers for three more majors wins to tie Jack Nicklaus’ elusive record of 18. 

If he never gets there, who will really care anyway? He’s already considered The GOAT and he’s as popular as ever. 

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