LET us talk about Tiger Woods again. It’s golf season, anyways, what with the PAL Interclub, now on its 70th year, blasting off Feb. 22 in presidential turf that is Davao City.
Woods, recovering from a fourth back surgery, has been in the news lately, seen and heard preparing for the Masters set in April.
The Masters, of course, is the first of four majors scheduled each year. Woods has won it four times after his breakthrough win in 1997 as a rookie, doing it in record-setting fashion.
So overpowering was Woods then that Jack Nicklaus, considered the greatest ever to play golf, said: “So young and so good already. I think you have just seen the man who will eclipse my records.”
Woods was barely 20 years old then when he won the Masters in his first majors appearance as a pro.
He had turned pro the year before, the reason he skipped playing the 1996 World Team Golf Amateur Championship held in Manila after signing up with Nike for $30 million.
That was the year’s top sports story that also saw Woods quit his scholarship at the famed Stanford University in San Francisco.
A golf prodigy, Woods would immediately proceed to dominate the game, adding to the Masters in quick succession his victories in the other majors: the June US Open, July British Open and August/September PGA.
Woods is just one of only a handful who had won all four majors for a rare Grand Slam. He also ranks second in the most number of majors won at 14, which is four behind Jack Nicklaus’ all-time high of 18.
But it happens that all joy rides will come to an end.
Woods has not won a major since 2008. At 40, he is considered young, and still very much capable of winning more.
Nicklaus won his 18th and last major when he was 46 years old, doing it in the 1986 Masters.
A while back, Woods said he was looking to old friend Roger Federer, 35, for some inspiration.
“What Rog has done is he’s been dominant for so long,” Woods said after seeing Federer beat Rafael Nadal to win his 18th tennis major in Australia last month. “No one wins tennis slams at his age.”
Like Woods, Federer is also fresh from a knee surgery that sidelined him for six months.
I just can’t wait to see Woods in Masters action in April.