What a remarkable achievement at age 36 — Tiger Woods, the first billionaire athlete, has caught his childhood dream, Jack Nicklaus, in career wins on the PGA tour at 73. Golf is an incredible game, and what you achieve in it is so satisfying.
Golf is an individual mental and physical test of your will to overcome yourself. When it’s over, you have to accept what your score is. No sport has been tougher on Blacks than the game golf.
This elitist country-club private stroll opens doors to major business and wealth, and that’s why it’s been so challenging for Blacks. There is so much to learn and to catch up on. The advantages are hidden, but they are many.
Thank goodness for the late Earl Woods, who’s celebrating at the heavenly 19th hole. He fell in love with the game and taught his young son Tiger what the game was all about and how to play it from the young age of two. Physical ability and talent is one thing, but mental understanding and development is critical.
In the all-time history of golf on the PGA tour most-wins top four are Sam Snead (82), Jack Nicklaus (73), Ben Hogan (64), and Arnold Palmer (62). Woods tied Nicklaus with his second win of 2012 and record fifth win at the Memorial.
Nicklaus’ tournament confirms for me that Woods is the greatest of all time. He has won 100 times worldwide now, and professional golf now is a world game. The depth of world talent is greater today than at any time in history. Wood’s is second only to Nicklaus (18) in Major championship wins with 14.
Not only did Woods win — he came from behind on the final day when he was four shots back starting the final round and shot 67, which is -5 on a par 72, to win by two shots. And he did it with Nicklaus watching. It does not get any better than that.
It also took a little magic on the par 3 16th hole, a treacherous 207-yard downwind water-left hole. Woods hit an 8 iron that bounced over the green into heavy rough. He was left with a downhill shot to a fast green out of thick rough with water lurking. Woods did it! He chipped in for a birdie to tie for the lead.
“The most unbelievably gutsy shot I’ve ever seen,” said Nicklaus. “If he’s short, the tournament is over. If he’s long, the tournament is over. He puts it in the hole.”
In less than two weeks, Woods will carry the momentum of this win as a favorite in the United States Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco. Woods’ victory moved him to number four in the world. Rory McIlroy missed his third straight cut, Phil Mickelson quit after shooting 79, and Masters Champion Bubba Watson missed the cut also.
Woods has great timing and appears to be slowly but surely working his way back to the top.
2012 Winfield Awards
I’m most grateful to my longtime friends Dave and Steve Winfield for asking me to be the keynote speaker at the 36th Annual Winfield Awards. It’s been a tough year on the Capital City, losing great community leaders like my late colleague Kwame McDonald, who has always been a big part of the banquet. He has handed the baton to his son Mitch, who is closing in on his doctorate, and the divine Ms. Patricia Frazier Hickman.
We recently loss my guy Stacy Robinson, NFLPA executive and former Winfield winner, in 1980. Henry Lake of KFAN was master of ceremonies. There was much emotion felt on Sunday night at the Crown Plaza. The 2012 Winfield theme was “A Bright Future.” Indeed.
Congratulations to young, talented Winfield finalists Kendrick Brewster (Cretin-Derham Hall, 3.92 GPA), Laura Cefalu (Central High, 3.65), Tina Daniels (Johnson High, 3.53), Mitchell Rosenbloom (Johnson High, 3.41), Symone Foster (Central High, 3.53), Anna Olson (St. Paul Academy, 3.67), and Keng Xiong (Johnson High, 3.64). The 2012 male and female winners were most deserving: Jerad Gardner (Central High, 3.84) and Michaela Bolden (Central High, 4.14).
I have always had a great appreciation for community and diversity. It’s so important to recognize the accomplishments of our young people, and it all starts with graduation, that first giant step into growing up and becoming an adult. But it’s so meaningful to be recognized by your own — it carries a lot of weight.
Team Fitzgerald wins 3M Media Championship
This never gets old. The 3M Championship is celebrating its 20th year while targeting $20 million for local charities. 2011 defending champion Jay Haas was here Monday for media day a day after winning the Principal Charity Classic in Iowa for the third time. He was first to also congratulate the winning team of Larry Fitzgerald, Raymond Boyd, Greg Wires and Peter Wong on the 2012 Monday Media Tournament. Fitzgerald’s team shot 121.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, and on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm; he also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2), and you can follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.