Eldrick Tont Woods, better known as Tiger Woods, is back. Sort of. Based on winning his third PGA-rated tournament of 2013 this past Monday (because of a weather delay), he is again the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, for the 11th time.
He first became the No. 1 golfer in 1999, and since then has held that ranking longer than any other golfer in history--first for 264 consecutive weeks, and then from 2005 to 2010, for 281 consecutive weeks, essentially 12 years in total, and he has regained it again. His victory on Monday in the Arnold Palmer Open in Orlando, Fla., was his eighth in that particular tournament, which is another record.
Palmer, who always congratulates the winner with a handshake, a check and a blue sports jacket, quipped that Tiger seems to own that specific golf real estate, and he seems to similarly own the No. 1 spot.
Of course, not everyone cares about this turn of events. Tiger lost much of his luster and public appeal as a result of his series of marriage peccadilloes and subsequent loss of concentration and golf form. He could do nothing in golf tournaments for almost three years except consistently lose. Many sports analysts gave him up for dead, and he certainly did not intimidate anyone on the golf course anymore.
Youngsters barely dry behind the ears were beating him regularly, and he was no longer a reliable asset on Ryder Cup teams, which is a test of international golf mastery between European and American players. As close as he had come to sports immortality since 1997, now he was a mere mortal hacking it out like a weekend duffer. The Greek god of golf had crashed and burned from the sky and looked very ordinary. One analyst said, regarding Tiger's golf game, that Tiger was sealed in a cemetery casket, his game deader than last decade's news.
To this new legion of doubters, a comeback seemed totally out of the question--he just seemed to have permanently lost it on the links. His mojo had run away.
Well, strike up the band for those who still can, no matter what others say. He's back and roaring loudly.
Black folks, always fickle to those who seem to stay in high cotton long enough to gag on the stuff and who seem obsessed with White women (remember O.J.?), had mostly moved on once Tiger started getting his clock cleaned. There was an almost collective ho-hum. He had tried to diss being Black, many said out loud or just nodded knowingly, but in the end learned what we all do eventually, it ain't what you say you are that matters most, only what we perceive you to be by loser's standards when you're down and out.
But Black folks love an underdog--someone who dangles over the side of the cliff but who somehow finds a way to climb back from the edge of total disaster. So, here's Tiger's second coming and even the ho-hummers are already practicing a new tune. If Tiger wins the Master's next month in Georgia, the cheering will reach Obama-level heights.