I'm going to come right out and admit it—I never thought Tiger Woods had a chance at the U.S. Open. I know, how stupid was I?
Think about it, he just had knee surgery, and had yet to play a full round of golf in which he actually walked the course. His doctors told him that his knee might not hold and he was risking re-injuring that knee permanently. All the tangibles were there to believe that he simply wouldn't have the strength to carry out four rounds of Torrey Pines, let alone 91 holes.
But I forgot the one main reason why he might be there Sunday afternoon, and subsequently Monday—he's Tiger Woods.
This past U.S. Open was no different from the previous ones. He didn't look all that good in the first two rounds, but he hung around. Numerous times was the world shown that his left knee seemed to be weakening, but he hung around. Other players tried to pull away from him, but he hung around.
If you let Tiger hang around long enough, he'll swoop in and take the lead right out from under you faster than you can pump your fist.
The very last shot he hit on Sunday was one that only Tiger could make. Even Mediate was shown as saying, "I knew he'd make it."
At that point, I couldn't believe that I had bet against Tiger, and I quickly agreed with Rocco—if anybody was going to make a putt to force an 18-hole playoff in the U.S. Open, it'd be Tiger Woods.
During those 18-holes Monday, Tiger showed glimpses of being both a superhero and a human. He had a three-stroke lead after ten holes, but was down one going into No. 18.
It was a par-5, and everyone knows that there isn't a par-5 that Tiger can't reach in two. And so it happened—Tiger on in two with an eagle attempt, and Rocco still had some work left to do for birdie.
Mediate made par, Tiger birdied. Let's play 91.
Mediate had history in his back pocket, but apparently he was unaware that there was a hole in that pocket. Tiger split the fairway when it mattered and Mediate played his second from the sand.
Mediate had an adventure on the first-and-only sudden death playoff hole, and he rolled a par putt past the hole while Tiger nailed his. Game over, Tiger has major No. 14 in his iron-clad pocket.
He's always finding new ways to outdo himself, and this time, he won the trophy with a Kirk Gibson-type performance—limping and hobbling throughout the course, and hitting the "home run" when it counted.
Never again will I doubt the legend that is Eldrick "Tiger" Woods. The Tiger is always on the prowl.
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