“Master of the Masters”
He tees off early. They, the rest of the big names, tee off late.
It’s opening day of the Masters Golf tourney in Augusta, and it will turn into “Tiger TV” at least for the first two days.
Tiger Woods, trying to catch lightning in a bottle, is reinventing his career, relaunching his popularity, and trying to go throwback on the course.
4-back surgeries later, multiple arrests for driving under the influence, and couple of stays in rehab centers, he is back on the course, playing well, and rallying his following.
He has strung together a 2nd place finish, tourneys of 3-good round in a weekend, and a bunch of sub-70 scocres.
He is not the same golfer. The distance off the tee is a lot less. But he is more consistent off the tee, and his streaky putting seems under control right now.
His history of dominance of the sports seems a thing of the past. He has 79-career wins, and 14-Grand Slam events. He has yet to see his name atop the leader board in a couple of years, but at least he is competitive.
Of course his personal history is still out there for everyone to see too. The divorce, the SUV accident, the affairs, the mistresses, the sexual addiction, the injuries, the painkiller addictions, his rehab stays.
The business life of Tiger is gone too. He lost 12-major sponsors and endorsements. His brand strength, that netted him 90M a year is gone forever. His annual number 1-ranking has plunged to 673, as he begins the road back.
And just as everyone seems interested in his rebirth on the golf course, comes new allegations of a $213,000 hush money payoff to a woman he was having an affair with while he was in another relationship.
And this week, the release of an unauthorized 490-page biography, steamy, sleazy, splashy and sensational, has hit the news stands.
His agent said the book was full of egregious errors, just like Tiger Woods off-the-course life, full of egregious errors.
The trophy wife, was replaced by trophy girls he would hang with. No one forgets the New York Post putting out a Tiger calendar with pictures of 12 of the women, who admitted they had affairs with him, while he was married.
He will try to ignore it. His agent will try to spin it. Most of the golf fans will not care.
The long suffering PGA-TV ratings will likely bump up, and for this weekend many will mention Tiger as being in the hunt.
Phil Mickelson is there. Rory McIlroy is trying to win again. Jason Day is trying to get healthy. Dustin Johnson is on the brink of super stardom. Jordan Spieth is looking to bounce back. Jon Rahm seems the next hot one to watch. Bubba Watson is playing well again.
But as long as he is on the course, and in the ‘red’, all eyes will be on Tiger Woods, beginning Thursday.
Tiger TV starts at (7:42am) Pacific out here, and back there it will ge bedlam among the azhelias and mulberries at Augusta.
The Master hopes to take home another green jacket in the Masters.