Tigers was the cold business of fairways and greens and two-putts, never deviating from the calculating game plan that relied on some of the finest long- and middle-iron play golf has ever seen. He attacked with a bold plunge only occasionally. When pushed by the only other competitor who showed some Sunday chops, Chris DiMarco, Tiger answered with a matter-of-fact three-birdie run.
And when he takes the life out of another major after just seven holes, he leaves the world ample time to contemplate what he has that others do not: the impenetrable psychological fortress, the unmatched physical strength, and a golfing IQ seemingly higher than his 270 winning total.
Pity the pack giving chase. Sergios just 26, still too young to stitch an unflattering label to all those canary yellow and powder blue outfits that clash with all too many gray Sundays hes played in majors. But for the foreseeable future, Garcias going to have to deal with Woods, and figure a way to evict whatever demons may be lurking.
Ernies so decent and likeable, just no match for Woods. And while its hard to distinguish between a hunch and hope, Els cant possibly be finished winning majors. What a shame it would be if the good feeling golf fans have for him doesnt soon spill over.
It was Jack Nicklaus who wondered if Tiger will tire of the pursuit, concluding that its unlikely because Tigers lived with it all his life and that is what he knows. Its a fact he gave us all considerable time to ponder on another Sunday that he made so masterfully and emotionally all his own.
Not until Stevie Williams told him on the 72nd hole in the fairway, this is for your Dad, did Tiger allow sentimentality to creep into a performance Mark James likened to the work of a chess master. Before they left for the golf course, Stevie and Tiger watched a news report on the deepening crisis in the Middle East. They saw pictures of innocent children injured in a hospital. They agreed that what they were trying to do, win a major championship, paled in comparison to what they were seeing. Tiger then played with what he described as a peaceful feeling.
When it was over, they hugged. The tears flowed. Stevie told me later that the only other times hes embraced Tiger that emotionally were at his wedding and at Earls funeral. Tiger said he knew the Masters would be his Dads last chance to see him win and that he was disappointed that he didnt get the job done because he usually does. That he usually gets the job done is a truth as hard and fast as the grounds he conquered at Royal Liverpool.
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