Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Jason Campos

What may have been the hardest and most draining par-70 course in the history of golf gave almost every golfer out in the US Open conniptions. Everyone that is except Tiger.

The 102nd US Open was held at Bethpage Black course in Farmingdale, New York. It was the first time in US Open history that the event was held on a public golf course. Those in charge of preparing the grounds for the prestigious tournament did not disappoint; the course had a monstrous length over 7200 yards.

With the collective cool and unshaken resolve, Tiger Woods placed himself in the lead after the first day and never looked back. Although he may have been diplomatic in his answers to reporters’ questions, the now seven-time winner of golf’s major tournaments hardly gave his competition any thought.

The man is an unbelievable talent. And even though the four-day tournament’s most visible (and positively annoying) spectator was Mother Nature, Woods never lost focus. While some of his competitors made sure that the press knew about the “unfavorable” conditions of the course and weather, Woods kept silent, preferring to let his game do the talking.

Is he the best to have ever play the venerable game of golf? Yeah, I’d say so. As long as his hunger for excellence continues, he will undoubtedly win more golf tournaments than anyone else has in history, including the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus.

Is there anything about this remarkable athlete that is undesirable or irritating? Maybe, but I don’t have a clue to what it is. There are some across the country who feel he should have a more visible presence and voice for young people of color as a role model. However, he probably does as much as the average athlete does, so I won’t take him to task on it.

Woods has a chance to win the grand slam of golf this calendar year, something that has never been done by any golfer before. He has already pocketed the Masters and the US Open, and he only has to secure victories in the British Open and the Professional Golf Association Championship. I for one would like to see him do it.

Everyone who appreciates the history of golf and the values of hard work should be gunning for him to pull it off. What makes Woods a palatable public image is the manner in which he carries himself, on and off the golf course. There may not be a harder worker in the game. He is often on the practice tee after he concludes rounds in PGA events, while the rest of his fellow golfers are in the clubhouse with a drink and cigar in hand. How can you not root for someone like that?