Tiger Woods, who has long sought to attain golfing greatness, gained a satisfying measure of sports symmetry on Sunday by winning the Memorial, thus achieving one of his most important golfing goals.

Appropriately it happened at the tournament hosted by the legendary golfer known as the Golden Bear – Jack Nicklaus, who Tiger has been stalking since childhood.   With the win, the 73rd of his career, Tiger is now tied with Nicklaus for second place on the all-time PGA victory list.

Tiger Woods Roars Again

Tiger’s play during the final round was so remarkable that even Nicklaus was amazed.

Tiger putted home a dagger of a birdie at 18 to cap his greatness-restoring charge on the back nine.

But that finishing put, as good as it was, could not compare to the incredible chip shot from just off the green at 16 that he holed for birdie.  It was a shot that Nicklaus himself called the “most gutsy” he’d ever seen.

For months legitimate questions have been raised about whether Tiger could regain his place as golf’s best player as he struggled with his game and his confidence.

Yes, there have been some missteps along the way since his return from embarrassment and injuries.

Uncharacteristically high scores, missed cuts, and occasional fits of temper were so unlike the player many believe will eventually break every significant record in golf.

Yet, despite his troubles Tiger continued to insist that his game was getting better.

Maybe because we hold him to a much higher standard than other golfers, it was hard to see his progress or believe what he was saying.

Dominating wins were all most of us have ever seen Tiger do.

But the fact is, in the last six months, he has racked up three victories, more than any other golfer in that span.

His comeback started with the exhibition win in December against most of golf’s best, then later an official tour win in March at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, at Bay Hill, and now this victory at Jack Nicklaus’ annual Memorial tournament.

Two more significant achievements remain for Tiger; eclipsing the all-time victory total of 82 held by Sam Snead, and his most important quest – besting the 18 major victories won by Jack Nicklaus.  Tiger is four back of Nicklaus’ total with 14.

Based on his performance on Sunday it now seems silly to wonder if he’ll ever win another major, of course he will.  Just as silly as it should have been to the doubters – including myself – that Tiger’s best golf was probably behind him.

He is bear hunting once again.

 

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