Tiger wins the Masters, what? Really?

I tried not to hype Tiger Woods this week. I had my fingers crossed. I bought a rabbits foot (just joking). I was pulling for him all along.

If you watched this Masters, it was mind-boggling. The first 9 was bizarre. Nobody was really doing anything. Molinari was struggling. Tony Finau was also not really playing well. Then at the turn, everything blows up. I had as much technology working for me as one man should have. I had the TV on CBS. I had my laptop streaming Masters.com. My cellphone was on pgatour.com. I wasn’t going to miss anything.

Suddenly, Patrick Cantley was leading. What? Who? Oh, come on. Where did he come from? His eagle on 15 placed him at 12 under. Then he hits a bad tee shot on 16 which leaves him on the wrong level. He 3 putts for bogey. He bogeys 17 which ends his run.

Tiger wasn’t looking as good as he did on Saturday or Friday. He seemed to be playing very smart. He wasn’t taking stupid risks. Then there was a flurry players were either in the lead, tied for the lead or just one stroke back.

World #2, Dustin Johnson made a run but missed a critical putt on 18. Brooks Koepka made an eagle on 13 then a birdie on 15 but couldn’t buy a birdie putt on 16, 17 or 18. He had to birdie 16. This is a guy who has buffed his chest out and stated that he wasn’t getting enough attention. He was the man. Well, when the rubber met the road he missed his tee shot on 16 which he had to make. Schauffele played brilliantly but couldn’t get a birdie on 15, 16, 17 or 18 to end at 12 under par. Bubba Watson came from way back to get to 10 under par only to bogey 17 and 18.

It was wild. Rickie Fowler just kept plugging away. He ended up at 10 under par. Justin Thomas who I thought was going to really play well, played great today. He made a hole in one on 16 but mistakes on 14 and 15 cost him.

Molinari was the biggest surprise. I was chatting with my buddy who is a golf nut, we both had just said that Molinari doesn’t make stupid mistakes. Tiger is going to have to go out and beat him. Well, we were both wrong. Molinari on 12 but a ball in the water. Molinari early in his career made mistakes. He missed putts but for the past 8 months, he has been great. At the Open, he played wonderful especially down the stretch. No big mistakes. At the Arnold Palmer, again, Molinari simply played his game. He drove the ball in the fairway. He played crisp iron shots and putted lights out. Heck, even after he messed up 12, he came back and birdied 13. It was 15 where the wheels came off of the cart. Bad tee shot was followed by a recovery shot. Then his 3rd was simply crazy. He has about 70 yards over the pond to the green. He takes a wedge and the ball hits a pine cone and falls into the water. It wasn’t even close. How does he not see that tree limb? The one thing that he can’t do is bring bogey in play. He knows that Tiger’s second shot is in the middle of the green.

Tiger didn’t have his best stuff today. He still had his irons which were fantastic. Much was made of Tiger’s putting on Thursday. I didn’t hear Tiger comment on what changes he made but the problem with inside 10 feet putting was gone over the weekend. He made the putts that he had to make. His driver was shaky on the front 9 but solid on the back 9.

For the past 3 – 4 years, I thought that Tiger Woods would make it all the way back. He had a ton of things to do in order to make it back. He had to get his mind right. He had lost his way. He needs to figure out how to get his body to work again. He had to get the right team doctors and physical therapists and swing coaches. He finally got all that. Then he had to focus. Tiger Woods fought the demons and beat them all back, one by one. Tiger Woods is Masters champion, again. Congratulations Tiger!!

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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