I made the casual comment, after Friday at The Masters, “Tiger’s playing well.”
My close friend, who cares little for golf and is as sweet and demure as any wife-like object can be, said, “Is he still bangin’ a buncha chicks?”
Well, dear, I don’t know. They say he has a girlfriend now. They say she’s 22, by which I think they mean her age rather than she’s one of 22.
At which point it was time to move on to how Tiger actually played, and for anybody who thinks a major is enhanced when Tiger Woods is in the hunt, that’s all that matters. The person of close acquaintance in my life had no interest in anything that happened on the course at Augusta National, so I kept to myself that Tiger dropped in a tough putt on 18 Friday for his ninth birdie to get him to 66 for the day, two shots back of Rory McIlroy heading into Saturday.
The best thing for big-time golf would be for Tiger to win, to have a duel to the finish like he had with Rocco Mediate at the ’08 U.S. Open. It would give credence to the “Tiger is back” talk and also support the notion that the young guns coming up laugh at the idea of being intimidated by Woods.
If it’s tougher for Tiger to win in these new times, what could be better for golf? That he does win, that you have to pay attention to him (and through the worst of it, who had bigger galleries?) but that others – like McIlroy? — are good enough and tough enough to match him shot-for-shot.
As for the best of the young studs, well, Martin Kaymer missed the Masters cut. So did fellow major winners from last year Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen. So did Anthony Kim, D.A. Points, Hunter Mahan, Rory Sabbatini and Jhonattan Vegas, all big talents who’ve shown they can win.
In the end, it might turn out no one’s tougher than Tiger. Still. Let’s see.