What is it about golf that grips its followers so relentlessly? It’s a mean old game designed to make a fool of us just when we think we’ve figured it out. And yet we keep coming back, again and again and again.
I can’t count the times I’ve sworn to give up the game. Yet here I am at 83 years old still out on the course. I had a respectable front nine yesterday then faltered on the back to score a miserable 93. But I plan to try again on Thursday.
I shot 79 on my 80th birthday, didn’t I? I might do it again. I just need to tweak my swing a tad – one more time.
Which brings us to Tiger Woods.
As you might know, Tiger has announced – for the fifth time – his return to competitive golf. He is in the field for the Hero World Challenge later this month in the Bahamas.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re laughing at the guy. He’s done this so many times before. And he’s failed every time. What chance does he have of making a successful comeback this time? He’s 42 years old, for one thing. And he’s a gimp to boot.
But golf is a weird game.
Time and again, some plodding unknown has turned in a flawless performance on the tour. Time and again some amateur hacker has posted a stunningly low score at his home course. Even the greatest have inexplicable on days and just as inexplicable off days. Jim Furyk shot 58, remember? He may never do it again. But he did it once. I bet he has no idea why.
Golf, as Forest Gump said about life, is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.
That might be why the game is so captivating.
Of course, Tiger is no ordinary golfer.
He is a golfing genius. He was breaking 100 when he was a toddler. He won 14 major titles, second only to Jack Nicklaus. He has 79 PGA trophies in his cabinet.
When he says he is amazed at how well he’s striking the ball now, I say believe him.
If he gets the right bounces, if the putts drop, if his old bones hold up… who knows? We might live to see the second coming of the Tiger we once new.
And I, for one, can hardly wait.