We wish to state upfront that we are not golf fans.
But every now and then, there are moments in the realm of sports that transcend what is achieved on the playing field, ice, links, or court.
For example, the 1980 gold medal victory by the U.S. hockey team (captained by Winthrop’s own Mike Eruzione), the 1967 Impossible Dream Boston Red Sox, Lou Gehrig’s iconic speech at Yankee Stadium, and just about everything that Muhammad Ali accomplished readily comes to mind.
Such was the case this past weekend when Tiger Woods won the Masters golf tournament. After more than a decade of personal, physical (four back surgeries), and professional setbacks — admittedly some self-inflicted — Tiger’s incredible, come-from-behind triumph spoke more about the human spirit than it did about golf. His victory was the ultimate redemption of a man who has achieved the greatest heights, but who had fallen to rock bottom.
When Tiger was embraced by his children and his mom after the last hole, we recalled a similar moment when he won his first Masters 22 years ago, with his late dad being present, when Tiger was a 21-year-old kid who destroyed the field by 12 strokes, still the record for margin of victory at the Masters.
But the close-ups of Tiger’s face this weekend throughout the tournament revealed the visage of a middle-aged man, older and wiser, but no longer innocent — and when he took off his cap at the end, his bald spots revealed that Tiger is not a kid anymore.
Tiger always has been a humble person and, despite his wealth and fame, has managed to put it all into perspective because of his modest upbringing and the adversity he faced because of his mixed race.
He did so once again in his post-victory interview. When he was asked how special it was for his mom to be there, he acknowledged that was true, but he quickly pointed out that he would not be where he is today without his mother, “because she was the one who packed me and my equipment into our Plymouth Duster and drove me for hours so I could play in tournaments when I was a youngster.” Those words truly touched us — and we know we join not only with the sporting world, but with people of all backgrounds, in congratulating Tiger Woods on his greatest triumph — which was about a lot more than winning a golf tournament.