The Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Insider
Tiger Woods is far from done, and a win may be coming soon
The Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Insider will take you inside Houston Sports each Friday because #WeAreHoustonSports!
There’s plenty of time to talk about the Astros’ magic numbers. Even more time to dissect the Texans’ struggling start or ponder just how seamlessly Melo is going to slide into the Rockets’ lineup.
So for the time being, we turn your attention to the end of a season and a way it could end with an exclamation point.
Yes, we’re talking the PGA TOUR’s wraparound season that comes to a close next week in Atlanta. The top 30 players on the FedEx Cup list will be at East Lake to tee it up for a $10 million first prize and a Tiffany trophy.
The favorite? Depends on how you look at it. You could go with Bryson Dechambeau, who leads the FedEx Cup points list and has won three of his last eight events including the first two FedEx Cup playoff events. Or FedEx No. 2 Justin Rose, who just happened to take over the No. 1 ranking in the world. Or red-hot Tony Finau, who just made his first Ryder Cup team or Brooks Koepka, who won two majors this season and went back-to-back at the U.S. Open.
Or Houstonian and reigning Masters champ Patrick Reed, ranked 15th in the FedEx Cup.
Actually, you could make a case for just about anyone in the field, but the exclamation point we’re talking about?
Sure, he hasn’t won since 2013, but what the heck? And why the heck not?
The greatest player of his generation has simply blown us away this season. He’s gone from No. 656 in the world to No. 21 with a fused back and a new swing. He’s gone from curious afterthought to a top-five fixture once again; from Ryder Cup vice-captain to member of Jim Furyk’s team.
In case you haven’t noticed, the man who won the inaugural FedEx Cup in 2007 at East Lake is on a roll. He has six top-six finishes this season and two runner-ups. Just a week ago he made a run at the BMW Championship throwing out an opening 62 and closing 66-65. He finished T6 and left us wondering what if he hadn’t shot 70 in the second round.
He had us dreaming at the PGA Championship, too, where a closing 64 brought the kind of rumbling, body shaking roars we haven’t heard in years. And a runner-up finish. A shot here or there and it could easily have been his 15th major title.
You know he’s far from done. And maybe not too far from that elusive next win.
Tiger heads into East Lake ranked No. 20 in the FedEx Cup standings and as a 14-1 shot to win. He knows the course. He’s won here before and, well, there’s no question he has something to prove.
Forget about the critics. This season, he’s rebuilt not only his swing, but his reputation – one shot at a time. He’s tackling his image and his climb back to the top with similar precision.
He’s not the only one trying to finish off a comeback. Jason Day snapped a 33-tournament winless streak earlier this year. Ditto for Phil Mickelson, who went 96 starts without a win until he picked up a victory in Mexico in March. And there’s quirky Ian Poulter, who won in Houston in April and snapped a winless streak dating back to 2012.
Yes, Tiger is back. He’ll never been the same dominating player he was two decades ago. He’s pushing back at middle-age and, for the moment, winning. He doesn’t ask more of his swing than he should and his focus? That’s thisclose to as sharp as it was when dominated the sport.
Tiger winning next week? It’s really not that far-fetched. He’s put in the work, had a week off and he’s on a roll. He wants this and he wants the Ryder Cup.
A year or two ago, we would have been crazy to think he would even be here, let alone in a position to win. Back then, he couldn’t swing a club. Now he’s doing it with close to best-player-on-the-planet-again precision.
He has our attention. He has us thinking another major championship.
A win next week? Why not?
It would close out a great comeback season and open the door to those major possibilities we’ve been thinking about in 2019.