Tiger's Masters Victory Deservingly Epic for Him

Understand two things as you read this post: 1) I have always been a Tiger Woods fan, and 2) I'm happy that he won another major golf title after the trials in his personal life and with his injuries.

But let's be realistic. In winning the Masters for the first time since 2005, Tiger was not the Tiger we watched win the first 14 major championships in his career. In those tournaments he led or co-led after 54 holes. In some of those, he played consistently, with steel determination, constantly pressuring those he was playing with into succumbing in the moment. In others, he seemed to be playing all by himself, shooting impressive shot after impressive shot, for our gratification as fans witnessing greatness, and for his as conceivably, the greatest of all time.

In some of the non-major tournaments he won, he was always lurking near the top and his runs to those titles were epic, with stunning shot after stunning shot. When Tiger was in his prime, other golfers on the tour knew he would be charging home. Not only did they battle the normal pressure of the day, but also the anticipation of what was coming.

For the general population, Tiger's victory yesterday was not epic. It was not vintage. It was not magic. It was not a defining moment. It was not something we will tell our kids and grand kids about, relishing the fact that we were there in the moment. It's not something we will always remember with reverence.

But it is all of those things for Tiger, and it should be. He battled back from debilitating injuries and unimaginable pain and substance abuse. He overcame years of being away and years of false starts on the comeback trail. He went from about as low as he could be in the professional rankings to the top of the world on golf's biggest stage.

Did he hit a few bad shots? Yes. Did he hit a few good shots? Yes. Did he instill fear in those he was playing with? No. Was he the beneficiary of others collapsing under the pressure of a final round of a major golf tournament? Yes, big time.

The leader board was packed. Six players had a chance to win late. Some of them couldn't hit the one or two shots or puts they needed to wrap up the championship for themselves. Some of them charged in through 18 and simply seemed to run out of holes.

The door for Tiger stayed open, and he made the shots down the stretch he needed to to win.

It was a special day, for sure. But it's not deserving of all the dramatics and superlatives the sports world is wrapping around it.