The Sights and Sounds from Tiger's Run at the PGA
Tiger Woods electrified the huge crowds at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis with a resurgent and thrilling Sunday charge at the Wanamaker Trophy in the PGA Championship. The 42-year-old shot a final round of 64 to finish two shots back Brooks Koepka, securing his seventh runner-up finish in a major, his best result in a decade.
For a time, the once unfathomable seemed possible. Following a succession of botched comebacks and back surgeries, public shame, and the apparent terminal decline of his game, many justifiably considered that he wouldn’t even return to play competitive golf. It was a question that the 14-time major champion had long pondered himself. Remarkably, he is a contender again.
Until a damaging tee shot and consequent par on the 17th, Woods was in the heat contention, despite trying to overcome the formidable stature of Koepka, and popular Australian Adam Scott, who was enjoying a renaissance of his own in Missouri.
I can’t thank the fans in St. Louis enough for packing the course all week and for their enthusiasm and support. It meant so much to me. pic.twitter.com/jQSkSCSYdM— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) August 13, 2018
Social media was enraptured. This was a once broken icon of sport rebuilding himself before us, reeling out the mannerisms and sense of timing that made him a transcendent figure within the game.
“These fans were so positive all week, I can’t thank them enough for what they were saying out there, what it meant to me as a player,” Woods said afterwards to Amanda Balionis of CBS.
“I was in contention the last two major championships,” noted the former world number one, who briefly led during the final round of the Open Championship at Carnoustie. “I never would have foreseen that a year ago.”
His most ardent supporters will be hoping this is past month is the ushering of a new era, rather than one last shot at glory. For a time, he made believers out of the vociferous cynics, as he charged to complete a triumph that would represent this generation’s equivalent of Jack Nicklaus’ famous sixth win at the Masters in 1986. When the factors are considered, it would have likely surpassed that legendary 18th major of the Golden Bear.
What has made Woods such a compelling player through the years – in addition to what he has achieved – is the way in which he lives a round. He verbalises, gesticulates, visibly shows passion, not hiding a hint of emotion or frustration, inviting the viewers into what he is feeling. We experience that with him. It’s that side that makes fans connect with him, despite the personal criticisms levelled at him.
The most photogenic of golfers, seeing Woods with a chance to win is a sensory experience, from the demonstrative visuals to the deafening roars of the crowd. We felt that on Sunday. Here is just a taste.
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