The 2010 Masters: Tiger Woods' Best Performance Ever?

Lou VozzaAnalyst IApril 12, 2010

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Tiger Woods plays a shot from the pine needles on the 13th hole during the final round of the 2010 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2010 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

Sorry, but this isn't another late-breaking sexual confession by a Tiger Wood's ex-paramour.  Those babes are played out.

They've sold their last piece of fictitious trash to titillate the pathetically boring world of golf journalism.

No, I'm talking about golf.  Surprise.  Surprise.

No one seems to really know where Tiger Woods has actually been since last Thanksgiving.  However, we know for certain where he has not been.  He has not been anywhere near a round of competitive golf.  

Hit some balls?  Probably.  

Chipped and putted?  I guess.

Can we please give this guy some credit for showing up cold at a brutally difficult Augusta National and playing well enough to be in contention on Sunday and finish fourth?

Let's put his performance in perspective.

How about Jim Furyk?  Here's a guy who's won a U.S. Open and knows his way around Augusta, finishing 10th last year.  He also has two top fives at the Masters, and he won a PGA tournament just last month.  How'd he do?  Furyk missed the cut and finished 91st (out of 96 players, including a couple of octogenarians).

How about Stewart Cink and Padraig Harrington, the last two British Open champions? Both missed the cut.

How about Ernie Els?  Ernie was the hottest player in golf coming into the tournament, with dominating back-to-back wins in March.  He's also a three-time major winner and two-time runner up at Augusta.  How'd Ernie do?  Needed a 68 on Sunday to finish 18th.

These were all seasoned veterans—proven major winners playing at their best—who prepared meticulously all year long for a shot at the green jacket.  Meanwhile, Tiger's coming back from a five-month layoff.  And not just any old five month layoff.  During this time he has been under an amount of stress that would be almost unimaginable to an ordinary person.

1)  The possible loss of his wife and custody of his children.

2) The personal humiliation of having intimate details of his sex life revealed to a voracious public, including taped phone messages and copies of text messages

3) The loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in endorsement income, plus the possible loss of half of his net worth in a divorce settlement.

4)  The continued rehabilitation of a crippling knee injury and an Achilles tendon tear.

5) I hate to say this, but I don't see how the guy got laid in the last five months. Can't put it past him, I guess, but we have to assume it was difficult at least.  For some of us, five months without sex is imaginable.  With what we know about Tiger now, I'm not sure how he survived.

I don't know about you guys, but any one of those five things would just about crush me.  Yet Tiger shows up at Augusta, totally unprepared, completely out of his routine, burdened by overwhelming personal problems...and almost wins the darn thing.

For me, this was his most impressive performance ever.