Sunday, July 23, 2006

Another legendary athlete honors Dad.

Tiger Woods further cemented his legendary PGA status by winning his second straight British Open title (third overall), finishing two shots ahead of Chris DiMarco. He is the first to win two straight Opens since Tom Watson did so in 1982-83.

At age 30 years and 7 months, Woods becomes the youngest player to win 11 major championships. Jack Nicklaus was 32 years, 5 months upon winning his 11th.

Every time Tiger wins a major, impressive stats such as those can be documented. But it was the sentiments he expressed afterwards on Sunday that made this an even more noteworthy victory. Since the passing of his father Earl in May, Tiger struggled to regain the mental toughness that has defined his illustrious career. He even missed the cut in last month’s US Open, the first time that has ever happened to Tiger in a major.

So upon winning his first tournament since Earl’s death, Tiger embraced caddie Steve Williams and sobbed uncontrollably. While witnessing this I couldn’t help but be struck by the similarities of this moment to what took place on Fathers Day, 1996. Another legendary athlete, NBA superstar Michael Jordan, helped his Chicago Bulls clinch the NBA championship on June 16, 1996. It was Michael’s fourth NBA championship, but the first title since the tragic death of his father James in 1993. Combine that with it being Fathers Day, Jordan spent several minutes after the game crying face down on the locker room floor. It appeared he was overcome with emotion on his dad not being there.

Yes, we often revere these athletes for their remarkable skill.

But I equally admire their ability to show raw human emotion upon completing another conquest.

I have a feeling we’ll see many more championships in the future of one Eldrick “Tiger” Woods.

No comments: