Tiger. I have nothing else to say. Nothing.
Monday at Torrey Pines, going head-to-head with the world's 158th ranked golfer, Tiger Woods officially earned the designation of the greatest golfer of all time.Here was a man just a few weeks after knee surgery playing a course that defeated Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Vijay Singh, Geoff Ogilvy and, eventually, drew even with Lee Westwood, and for 72 holes, he defeated it, albeit by one shot. The only other person who could say that was Rocco Mediate.
And after 91 holes, Tiger still had the course beat. Not even Mediate could say that.
Tiger Woods, bad knee and all, had defeated the U.S. Open and every other top golfer in the world. And nobody was surprised.
That last line is the most important. Nobody was surprised. No one.
I wasn't surprised. Rocco Mediate wasn't surprised. Johnny Miller wasn't surprised. And you weren't surprised. How could you be?
This was, nay, is Tiger Woods. This is what he does.
Only Tiger Woods birdies the final hole twice to stay alive in the U.S. Open in one tournament. Twice! He did it Sunday and he did it Monday. Heck, on Saturday he eagled it to take a one shot lead. And were you surprised then? How could you be?
I wasn't alive when Jack made his charge at Augusta in 1986, but from what I've read, many people, many so-called experts, were surprised. He had been written off as over-the-hill; he had been written off as old.
But Tiger wasn't written off.
Even with a bum knee, he was the favorite or at the very least the co-favorite before the event.
Even when he was grimacing in pain, using one of his clubs as a cane just to walk up to the ball after he hit it, you expected him to pull off something miraculous.
Even when he double-bogeyed the first hole three times, not once did anyone think that Tiger was done. Maybe you thought he was in trouble, but you knew this was Tiger.
And that's when I realized that Tiger had taken the next step, Tiger had officially become the greatest golfer to ever live, bar none.
No longer was I waiting for him to break Jack's mark of 18 majors. No longer was I waiting for him to break Snead's mark of 82 tour victories. He doesn't need those marks to be the best ever. Not anymore, at least.
Just by making the cut, he showed that he is the best today. Do you honestly think any of these guys could make the cut so quickly after knee surgery? But everything he did in the three rounds after that should have silenced any critics.
Remember 1997, remember when Michael Jordan scored 38 points in game 5 of the NBA finals against the Utah Jazz despite battling the flu? Were you surprised? You couldn't have been.
Now, Jordan had long-since solidified his status as the greatest to ever play, but that symbolized it. Sure he hadn't broken Kareem Abdul-Jabbar mark for most points scored or equaled Bill Russell's 11 titles, but at that point, you couldn't argue that he was not the greatest ever. And you didn't.
After Rocco Mediate missed his par putt on the 91st hole on Monday, Tiger Woods's fate was sealed. Not just was he the United States Open Champion for the third time, he was the greatest golfer to ever live. To argue otherwise would be fruitless.
Records are nice; they are sweet. But they aren't the definition of greatness. They help to define it, but they aren't the entire definition.
Most likely, Woods will shatter each mark. He will leave them in his dust. But he doesn't need to. He doesn't need to ever make another cut.
He doesn't need to do anything else ever to assure his legacy as the greatest golfer to ever live.
His legacy now is, it just is. And there's nothing more I can say. There's nothing more I need to say.
If you saw it, you know what I'm talking about. You are not surprised. There is no way you can be surprised.Tiger. I have nothing else.