I wish I had a cool name. Justin: It means to be "true or full of justice". Don't get me wrong, it's better than having a name that means "full of crap".
But it's just OK. Not very memorable though. Easily confusable with other popular names that begin with J; like Josh, Jacob, John, or even Jason.
Tiger. Now that's a name.
Yeah I know his real name is Eldrick, but even that is unique. Tiger is a great name; especially for a supremely dominant and charismatic golfer like Tiger Woods.
Maybe if he was an accountant, it wouldn't command the respect that it does for Tiger Woods the golfer, but it is great nonetheless. As cool as his name is, it is the least important thing that Woods has going for him.
Here are a few good reasons why Woods will win his 15th major at the 2009 Masters Tournament.
1) A perfectly timed tune-up—Coming back from a major knee surgery can be tedious and frightening for the average guy, and even more so for a professional athlete.
There is a great deal of uncertainty after being out of commission for so long. There has to be tangible proof that your knee is ready for normal action. A hard cut. A long stride. A powerful jump.
And in Woods' case, a come from behind victory at Bay Hill.
2)An ageing field—Several of Woods' most worthy adversaries are ageing—albeit gracefully—but their chances of beating him are growing thinner and thinner. Especially on one of golf's greatest stages, where Woods thrives.
Phil Mickelson is 38, five years older than Woods. Now Mickelson is by no means a has-been, but at the very least Mickelson is beginning the downswing of his prime.
Vijay Singh is still one of the best golfers in the world, but he is 46 and has challenged Woods little since 2005.
"Iceman" Retief Goosen has had some great success at Augusta, with a total of four top three finishes there. He is, however, 40 years old and has seen some lengthy slumps in his career.
Add in several other ageing competitors in this year's field: Kenny Perry (48), Jose Maria Olazabal (43), who has two Green Jackets, Ernie Els (39), and Rocco Mediate (46), and it seems even more likely that Woods can get his fifth Masters Championship.
This is not to deny that there are several young and capable golfers in the field who can knock off Woods. Paul Casey, Geoff Ogilvy, Trevor Immelman, Padraig Harrington, and several others have the talent and youth for a good a shot at the Green Jacket.
3) The year of the tiger—No, I'm not talking about the Chinese Zodiac. 2009 is the Year of the Ox just for the record, and 1975 (Woods' birth year) was the year of the rabbit. But it is still the year of the Tiger. Here's why:
Woods won at Augusta in 1997. He did not win in '98, '99, '00. Woods won again in 2001, 2002 and 2005. In '06, '07, '08, no wins.
Woods has never been more than three years between Masters victories. It is like destiny and a mathematical covering law all in one.
4) A completed puzzle—Since Woods has returned, he has shown greatness at every level of his game—only at different times.
He drove the ball tremendously well in his first outing of 2009 in Arizona. He showed great placement with his iron play at Doral, and his putting and clutch play was showcased two weeks ago at The Bay Hill Invitational.
It would stand to reason that if Woods can tighten up all aspects of his game at Augusta he has the best shot of anyone at slipping on another Green Jacket.
5) His name—It's not important how cool his name is. What is important is how people react to hearing his name. The intimidation that Tiger Woods creates with his presence is not a novelty that will wear off—ever.
There is always talk of golfers who are no longer intimidated by Woods. That is a lie. Are they used to the pressure and fanfare that he creates? Probably. But they still fear what he can do.
Every golfer in the field this weekend has a slimmer margin for error because Woods is playing. Even if he shoots an 82 on Thursday, other golfers realize that his rare combination of athleticism, talent, strength, work ethic, and knowledge of the game make him supremely dangerous.
A recent poll on a popular sports web page asked:
"Who Will Win the 2009 Masters?" A) Tiger Woods B) The Field
There is a reason no one else's name was on that poll; there is only one name that matters. TIGER.
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