Then in 1996, I was channel surfing on a lazy weekend and caught the final match of the U.S. Amateur Championship at Pumpkin Ridge G.C. I had heard of this golf phenom named Tiger before, and this was my first opportunity to see what all the hoopla was about.
I was instantly mesmerized by Tiger's perfectly textbook swing. I was in awe as he routinely drove the ball over 300 yards, an amazing feat at the time. However, his opponent Steve Scott finished five up after the morning 18 holes. With another 18 to play, it didn't look good for Tiger. But Tiger came roaring back with some truly incredible putting. It was one of the most exciting sports moments that I had ever seen. I was so inspired by Tiger's masterful and passioned performance that I dusted off my hand-me-down Hogan blades and persimmon woods and headed to the range.
10 years later I'm a certified golf nut. I play golf or watch it on TV whenever I get a chance. I subscribe to Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, and Golf World. As a self-taught golfer, I study golf instruction material like a PhD student. I research and experiment with golf equipment to eek out every possible performance gain. I write a freakin' golf blog for chissake! I can trace all this mania back to that one magical day in 1996 at Pumpkin Ridge.
Not only is Tiger Woods the reason that I developed a passion for golf, he was the main catalyst for golf's resurgence over the last 10 years. However, it seems that golf has been stuck in neutral lately. Greg Norman recently voiced his opinions on the subject. Surprisingly, he hints that Tiger is to blame! Is this just another case of a bitter old fart longing for the "good old days"? As a whole, I don't think that you can argue that Tiger hasn't been anything less than a boon to golf. People always prefer tigers over sharks anyway.
Labels: Tiger Woods