Tiger Tiger Woods Ya’ll
Tiger Woods is back!! I know, I know its just one tournament (not the Masters) but he looked pretty darn good. After his win Sunday he has once again created a buzz but this time it is being viewed as “positive”. All the naysayers can continue to doubt him but remember never underestimate a heart of a champion and big things have small beginnings; and I’m looking forward to watching him kick the rest of the field’s B-Hinds. He is already the greatest golfer in the world due to the fear he puts in his opponents; and the precision, skill, and determination he possesses is unparalleled.
Mr. Woods or as I like to call him, The G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) is one of my all-time favorite athletes. His game is made up of hard work, skill, and dedication, but his biggest strength is his sheer hatred for losing. That combination of attributes is what separates him from other athletes/golfers and as a result makes him the “perfect” competitor/athlete. Just this past Sunday he picked up his 73rd PGA Tour win, tying him with the great Jack Nicklaus for #1 of all time in that category. Funny thing is before this win Tiger hadn’t won a tournament since skinny jeans and the Dougie resurfaced yet he is still tied with Jack Nicklaus for the most PGA tour victories. Now the 14-time major champion has his eye on another Nicklaus record, which is 18 Majors Championships.
I don’t like to be a “shoulda, coulda, woulda” (that’s a phrase I live by and share with young kids and adults alike. It tells folks to go and do things aka Seize the Moment because a closed mouth doesn’t get fed), but can we imagine if he would have continued his success after his so called “breakdown”? He could have amassed 100 victories and 20 or more championships, and he is only 36. Again I don’t want to be a “shoulda, coulda, woulda”, BUT this reminds me of a few other athletes (who could have been the greatest of all-time or close to it) that were either oft-injured or forbidden from playing the game they love.
Bo Jackson. We had never seen a better mix of power and speed that translated to two sports (Football and Baseball). Jim Brown was a rare mix as well but Bo was an upgraded modern day version of him. He was my favorite to watch because he wanted to hurt folks when he ran and he played HARD. Bo was the first athlete to be named an All-Star in two major American sports AND he was a Heisman Trophy winner. Allegedly he was tackled by another player during an NFL football game and he was writhing in pain after landing awkwardly on his hip. His hip had actually dislocated (and he didn’t want to let his team down) so he popped his hip back into place. Unfortunately his hip didn’t agree with that decision and following the surgery and rehabilitation on that hip it was also discovered that he had avascular necrosis, which came as a result of decreased blood supply to the head of his left femur. He did a gutsy thing that day by popping his hip in and playing on, but that “gutsy” move resulted in him having to have his hip replaced and well the rest is history.
Ken Griffey Junior. He is one of the most prolific hitters (#6 all time in home runs) and best defensive players (He won 10 Gold Gloves) in baseball history. He had numerous injuries throughout his career including hamstring problems and for each of the following years he barely played half of the season: 1995, 2002-2004, and 2008. He would have easily broken the HR record held by Barry Bonds if he had played the whole season for those aforementioned years. He was the most skilled and efficient player I have ever seen and I’m sure there are plenty of other folks that can say the same.
Connie Hawkins AKA The Hawk. This was one of the guys (along with Milt Wagner) my grandfather (a native of Harlem, New York back in its glory days) said changed the game of basketball. He always told me that Connie Hawkins was one of the greatest basketball players THE WORLD almost never had a chance to see. He was one of the best high school basketball players in the country and that skill helped him earn a scholarship to the University of Iowa. While at the University of Iowa his name surfaced in point-shaving (He was a freshman at the time at U of I), but he couldn’t have been involved because as a freshman (due to NCAA rules of that era) he was ineligible to participate in varsity-level athletics. Subsequently he was expelled from Iowa, no other school would give him a scholarship, and the NBA wouldn’t let him sign a contract with them due to his alleged “involvement” in point-shaving. So he went to play with the ABL’s Pittsburgh Rens (where he was player of the year), the Harlem Globetrotters, and then the Pittsburgh Pipers of the ABA just to show the NBA what they were missing. Eventually they signed him in the NBA, BUT he was 26 years old! I don’t believe it was the point shaving, I believe it was due to him being a “street-ball” player (who weren’t “respected” in the league) but haters are gonna hate. Despite their ignorance he tore the league up anyway.
The point of these examples is not to ramble on about things that held people back it’s about examples of persistence and knowing that you only get one shot at life and these gentlemen took advantage of that. No matter what they do in their personal life, they are still HUMAN and deserve respect and a certain level of privacy. Tiger is playing for something bigger than trophy’s and I’m proud that he has broken barriers people didn’t want to him to break/never thought he would break. He is a true inspiration. By the way it looks like he may be getting himself together and lets make sure (PGA Tour) there are no Asterisks by his name if/when he breaks your precious records! Oh I almost forgot, TIGER TIGER WOODS YA’LL!!