For Tiger Woods, the script couldn’t have been written any better. Entering the back nine of the final round of the Memorial trailing Rory Sabbatini by two shots, Tiger went old school and hit clutch shot after clutch shot, punctuated by an impossible chip shot on 16th that Jack Nicholson, the greatest person to ever touch a golf club, called “the most unbelievable, gutsy shot I’ve ever seen”.
Over the last four holes, Woods’ clutch gene was on full display. Heck, even his famous fist bump came out of hibernation after that 16th hole birdie. Rory Sabbatini didn’t even have a chance going against it, surrendering the lead late in the round to a man that was roaring to the finish.
Woods’ victory at Memorial was the 73rd of his career, putting him on even terms with Nicholson and giving him plenty of time to catch Sam Snead’s all-time record of 82 wins.
And to those folks who played the Tiger card before the tourney started? Big ups on cashing in on the long odds!
15-1 once seemed preposterous when it came to Tiger Woods. But that’s what he was given before the tournament started, a sign that oddsmakers aren’t as fearful of him as they once where when golf tournaments usually ran “Tiger vs the Field” odds. But after his most impressive victory post fire hydrant, there’s a good chance that Tiger could very well have his mojo back. He’s no longer the Tiger Woods of 2001, but this new version – let’s call it “Tiger Reinvented” – is still as good as anybody in the tournament.
Even oddsmakers have to take notice, and some have already done so, posting him as the favorite to win not just the US Open (5/1 odds) in two weeks time, but also the Open Championships (6/1 odds) further down the road.
On the flip side, we’ve seen this script before earlier this year. Back in March, Woods’ win at Bay Hill vaulted him up to the top of the lines leading up to the Masters, a tournament where he ended up shooting +5 before finishing tied for 40th place.
Make no mistake, the days of “Tiger vs The Field” are long gone. But even if he’s no longer the unquestioned king of the sport, Woods is still one of the best players in the game. His victory at Memorial gave us a glimpse of how dominant he can still be.
Maybe it’s a sign that he’s finally out on the prowl again.