Tiger Woods

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Bernstein: For A Day, Tiger Woods Brought The Feeling Back

Woods captured us again, reminding there's nothing like it in golf.

Dan Bernstein
March 12, 2018 - 8:14 am

By Dan Bernstein--
670TheScore.com senior columnist

(670 The Score) I actually was compelled to look up what Valspar was. Such is the power of a certain great athlete.

Preparing to take in the final round from the moment it began on Golf Channel before it made the national jump-shift to NBC Sunday, I took the time to make myself aware of house paint and coatings in a way that I hadn't been to that point, noting from Wikipedia that the company's history even involved the brother of preeminent painter Winslow Homer, with Charles Homer recruited there in 1866 as the first chemist in the American varnish industry.

Tiger Woods made me do that, is the point.

Not that I'm in the market for their products at the moment, but it's that kind of penetration into the collective consciousness that makes people pay money for the naming rights of golf tournaments, with this particular consciousness as noticeably collective as can be, represented by the throngs that aggregated and pulsed around Woods as he marched the Copperhead course at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, Florida. Every person there represented thousands more of us watching from afar, hoping to see something important in sports rekindling.

And it did, in a way that evoked memories and tantalized with possibility of what may be to come. But that's part of the difficulty in enjoying it, fighting to stay in the present against the weight of the past and the pull of the future. It was right in front of us for a day at least, and we knew it.

There again was the black hat and red shirt, the name at the top of the leaderboard and the sounds from that gallery that are and have been only from that gallery. Not Dustin or Rory or Sergio or Justin or Jordan or Rickie or all of them combined have Tiger's gravity, even after years of sordid stories and a descent into a kind of oblivion.

The hero myth of literature involves the protagonist exiled to an abyss, felled by temptation and/or challenge before ultimately reconciling with the gods or a father figure to return, changed, to a kind of glory. Think Luke Skywalker, Neo, Simba, Katniss Everdeen or King Odysseus himself for classic examples of the ageless form.

Here was Woods, after his marriage and public reputation were destroyed by his serial philandering, his body wracked by multiple serious injuries and major surgeries and his mind battling through substance addiction, returning to the Sunday stage and competing again with the best golfers in the world. It was he who elevated the sport to reach this time, we must remember, his first iteration spawning this wave of stars that has since flooded the PGA with talent from around the world, and he was back to match them stroke for stroke and fight until the final hole. It came up one short, and it was glorious.

It will never again be what it once was, but we were reminded that there's nothing like it.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.