The Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Insider

Tiger Woods is far from done, and a win may be coming soon

Tiger has been close at times this year. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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?

Tiger Woods.

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.

To himself.

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.







 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome