I found myself this past Sunday being drawn away from watching my favorite NFL team (Baltimore) to watch a meaningless, unofficial golf tournament that featured a minute field of only 18 golfers. Granted, those golfers were ranked in the top 50 in the world. You are probably wondering why would I do something as sacreligious as watch golf over football on a Sunday in December? Answer: Tiger Woods was in position to win a golf tournament for the first time in over 2 years.
Like it or not, Tiger being on top is great for the game of golf. I have always been an avid fan of the PGA, but for the last 2 years I found myself watching it less and less due to Tiger's absence. Watching Tiger drain birdie putts on 17 and 18 this past Sunday took me back to 2008 at Torrey Pines when Tiger was limping around the course and draining putts to win the US Open.
No offense to any of the current guys on tour, but fair weather golf fans are not going to tune into Webb Simpson or Brandt Snedeker battling it out to win tournaments. Tiger fist-pumping and yelling at camermen for snapping a photo in his backswing is what draws fans to tune in. When Woods burst onto the golf scene in the mid 90's, he opened up a whole new generation of fans to the game of golf. He brought a new passion and attitude to the game. It is for that reason that when Tiger drains a 20 ft sanke on the 18th to win an obscure golf tournament, people are going to ignore what happened in November of 2009 and get back to jumping out of their seats and cheering.
I will be right there yelling along with them.