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Like Rocky fighting Dolf Lundgren in the Soviet Union, Tiger Woods became a warrior on the Torrey Pines Golf Course this weekend. For a few moments, the world's best golfer was on the ropes and many thought that it was time to throw in the towel. He was having a great deal of trouble with the left knee that had surgery on it for the thrid time and now he was walking (not in a cart, mind you!) 7,643 yards.
Woods would have none of that. After coming off knee surgery after the Masters, he would tame the course that would strike fear in most duffers, let alone those that play golf for a living. Saturday, Sunday and Monday were magical moments for Woods, shooting 68-70-73 for those three days. He needed more than magic to do what he did. He needed luck. He got that luck on Saturday when he made a near impossible putt that even I would have missed. His game the last three days puts mine to shame. Right now, I am a caddy compared to him.
Not to take anything away from Rocco Mediate, who fought as hard as he did but today was not his day. It was not his day for the golf gods to shine on him, although I was just as impressed with him. It was after reaching the green in three in the sudden death hole, his fate was sealed when he failed to sink the par putt from 20 feet. It was a huge win not only for Tiger Woods, it was a great victory for American golfers. That win broke a string of four non-Americans winning the Open.
Eldrick Woods (his given name) moves even closer to the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus. His 14 majors puts him only four behind the ledgend. There's a good chance he'll catch the Golden Bear and yes, beat the Golden Bear. The British Open and PGA Championship await him after he rests. He deserves it. He asked a lot of himself on Torrey Pines this weekend. Golf takes a lot out of a person. It's more physical than you think. It's asking your body to do something it normally wouldn't do, like try to drive a golf ball some 300 yards.
A wounded Tiger fought. A wounded Tiger battled. A wounded Tiger won.