Thursday, June 20, 2019

Mendoza: And he thought of quitting golf

All Write

TWO years ago, Tigers Woods thought of quitting golf. Reason? He was in pain from eight surgeries, including four to fuse his back.

Who said golf is the safest non-contact sport to play next to chess?

Did you know that I broke my right elbow 28 years ago at the Capitol Golf Club in Q.C.? But that’s another story.

Two years ago, Woods could hardly climb a stairway of just three steps.

He had once fallen flat on his back, his daughter fetching for help to get him back on his feet.

He had avoided a golf club like the measles plague, the thought of making a swing triggering him to be wheelchair-bound for life.

He had told his best friend Mark O’Meara as well as his swing coach Hank Haney that he was through with golf.

Last year, he came back, led and nearly won the British Open at Carnoustie in Scotland—his bid deflected by that tiny Italian named Francesco Molinari, whose persistence and patience rewarded him with a bogey-free last round to defeat Woods.

Inspired by that decent effort, Woods continued to retrace his glory that had given him 14 majors since his breakthrough Masters victory in 1997 that saw him break 20 records—at age 21.

“I see that kid smashing more records,” said Jack Nicklaus of Woods then.

Yesterday, Woods birdied the testy par-3 16th a second straight day from just a foot away, erased a 2-shot deficit with a round left and became a Masters champion. Again.

He’s never won a major trailing after 54 holes, making the $11-million Masters another grandeur to remember.

It also meant a fifth green jacket even as Woods was singing a tune with not a tinge a victory hymn a day before.

“I’m just thankful to be able to come back here and play again,” he said, as though his third-round 67 was something not carved out from his genius of old.

His Sunday 70 windup was “just” good for a one-shot victory, but it nonetheless sent a chilling message to his foes young and old alike: He’s back!

At 43 and with 15 majors to his name, the tiger’s just three off Jack Nicklaus’ all-time high of 18.

At 43, the tiger is prowling. Again. Beware.


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