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Monday, March 26, 2012

A Letter to Tiger

Dear Tiger,

Please, please win tomorrow. Pretty please?

After the incident which caused you physical pain and in the process, revealed your less-than-admirable "extracurricular activities," I was completely grossed out, unsympathetic and never expected to root for you again.

But after nearly two and a half years, I have changed my tune as you hold a 1-shot lead going into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and here I am, begging you to win. If there's any stop on the Tour that can get you back on track, this is the place. You love Bay Hill! After all, you've won there six times. It seems like this would be a fitting place to finally log a PGA Tour victory for the first time in 30 months.

You were back on your game Saturday, dare I say, old-school-Tiger style, leading by 4 shots after 13. Then, you were tested. You bogey'd the 14th and followed up with a disastrous shot on the 15th which sent your ball trespassing poolside on some home owner's property. Yes, 15 was ugly, landing you your first double bogey in 247 holes on the Tour this season, but that's okay! You hung in there, stayed calm and still managed to shoot 1-under 71, good for a 1-stroke lead.

Remember how incredibly clutch you used to be when taking a lead into the final round? You were as close to unbeatable as it gets, winning 48 of 52 PGA Tour events in which you started Sunday on top. This week at Bay Hill, you are excelling on the toughest parts of the course, birdying 10 of the 12 par-5's you've played through the first three rounds, outperforming the field by an average of 7 shots in that category.

Look, I know you've come really close to winning recently, yet came up short in the end. But this isn't the Australian Open or Abu Dhabi. It's Bay Hill, a place where you will get your mojo back.

Sure, Phil Mickelson is a fan favorite and the rise of young Rory McIlroy has been fun to watch (and is somewhat reminiscent of you), but the sport just isn't the same without you, Tiger Woods, in contention on the back 9. Golf just isn't that fun without your eye-of-the-tiger-death-stare scaring the pants off the competition down the stretch.

Listen, you don't have to win 'em all, but "71" doesn't sit well with me. As ludicrous as it sounds, you are better than 71 Tour victories. Your talent should have easily taken you beyond 14 Majors, but I'll try not to get ahead of myself.

72 has seemed like an impossible task, but I implore you to please get there tomorrow. Put on your finest red Nike swag and get your signature fist-pump ready because I think you, Tiger Woods, are ready to be a winner once again.

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