The  “Love Song” of Tiger Woods

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Last year at the Genesis Invitational fans could watch Tiger Woods on the course. Here, he’s getting set to tee off on 9.

Tiger Woods, 48, will host and play in the Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club this coming week. It will be his first tournament in 2024.

The Genesis is a limited field for top performers, and Woods will be playing on a sponsor exemption.

Once considered unbeatable, he was in a single-car crash in Palos Verdes in 2021 that shattered his lower right leg. He required surgery on open fractures to his lower right leg and further injuries to his foot and ankle. At one point he feared that his right leg might be amputated.

At the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in November 2021, Woods said,  “I’m lucky to be alive but also still have the limb.”

Slowly, he was able to resume walking and then golfing. Last year at the Genesis, he made the cut and shot a 1-under 283 to finish tied for 45th place at a tournament he has never won.

Afterwards, a reporter asked him, “If you’re 60 and you don’t wake up with the irrational belief, I could win this tournament, could you still enjoy it?”

There will come a point in time when my body will not allow me to do that anymore, and it’s probably sooner rather than later, but wrapping my head around that transition and being the ambassador role and just trying to be out here with the guys, no, that’s not in my DNA,” Woods said. “Ambassador role in hosting events like this, in hosting the Genesis Invitational or the Hero.”

Woods withdrew from the Masters in April because of plantar fasciitis, and two weeks later underwent surgery on his right ankle. He missed nearly every 2023 tournament.

For golf fans, who want to see a sports icon, or maybe just Tiger’s famous smile, try to be on the Riviera course on Thursday or Friday, just in case Tiger doesn’t make the cut.

Your Circling the News editor watched him struggle last year. Walking seemed to be an effort, it was as if the head and body weren’t communicating and instead of playing with ease it was all effort.

Lee Trevino said in 2018 Golf Digest story (“What Made Tiger Woods Great”), “You never stop dreaming it. I love the art of it. I love the people. And still being able to go out and perform. With Tiger, it’s even more so. It would be very easy for him to say, ‘I don’t even want to mess with it.’ I mean, his retirement fund alone has got more money than AT&T. So no, he loves the sport, he loves competition, he loves to win, he loves to play well. That’s his whole thing.”

According to a PGA Tour 2024 story, Woods plans to play a tournament a month. He said after the final round of the PNC championship, “We’ve been working out hard, been able to recover. It’s been nice to knock off a lot of the rust.’

“Rust will continue to be a storyline as Woods progresses through 2024,” the PGA writer said. “The 82-time PGA TOUR winner has played just seven official TOUR events in the previous three seasons. If he sticks to his schedule, Woods could reach seven events in 2024.”

Additionally, Woods and Nike ended their partnership last month. Woods began partnering with Nike in 1996 when he turned pro at age 20.

In a Woods tweet on X, “A new day rises 2.12.24,” which many see as an imminent announcement about a new clothing line, inspired by Tiger.

Even if it’s a title he doesn’t want, he’s still golf’s greatest ambassador. CTN watched as crowds called out to him and followed him from hole to hole during the Genesis tournament, not because he was playing great golf, just because he was great. He is the top professional golf money leader with more than $121 million earned.

When he was only 20, he established the TGR foundation, which helps youth from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing classes, mentorships and opportunities.

In a 2014 Forbes interview (“Tiger Woods on Philanthropy”), Woods said: “I’m proud that our work is making a real difference for our students. Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, and we see this every day in the work we do. Almost 90 percent of our college scholars are first in their families to graduate, which is a game changer for those families. I’m very proud of that.”

As tournament host, Woods always treats the military well, providing service people with access to a large pavilion located off Hole 10 at the Riviera, which provides food, drinks and a place to view golf. Prior tournaments did not provide that amenity.

Playing golf is all Tiger Woods has ever known. He played his first professional tournament when he was 16. But now as he nears 50 (the average age of a professional golfer on the PGA Tour is 35.1 years), he must cope with continued rehabilitation of his body and game.

In T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” the narrator, who is not young, looks at his place in the world. The speaker contemplates different memories, thinks about what could have been and worries about his circumstances now.

“I grow old. . .I grow old . . .

“I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.”

The same “Love Song,” which hits all of us about where we should be in the world, and athletes probably sooner than most, is facing one of the world’s all-time great golfers, Tiger Woods.

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2 Responses to The  “Love Song” of Tiger Woods

  1. John Alle says:

    Thanks for the beautifully written article. Tiger Woods has elevated the stature and importance of this tournament. The course is the players’ favorite on tour, and consistently ranked one of the best courses in the US and worldwide. Click below to see how Tiger has tried to give back through his foundation –
    https://tgrfoundation.org/video/?mkt_tok=Mzk2LU9RRy05NDkAAAGRPtncZD24iSnhthU22f-Op1N1vBIaqVTiJm1geW0jZHQNcG9G1Z4u60RittqXQsdBndSVjQbTRGCSpXJKzu8Zbpt6JjGa17kMlfntkfATi30#tigervision

  2. Lynn Miller Hylen says:

    Beautifully written piece!

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