By Garrett Johnston
Tiger Woods’ thrilling win at Sunday’s Tour Championship has the golf and sports world buzzing.
The Big Cat, after 1,876 days between his last win, finally came through on Sunday and overcame five years of injuries and missteps.
“It’s arguably the greatest sports comeback of all time,” Woods’ former coach Chris Como said over the phone Sunday night.
“It’s incredible, no matter how you slice it.”
Even when the two stopped working together in December 2017, Como released a statement that he was excited about what Tiger was capable of on his own.
“I’m eager to watch what will be one of the most exciting sports comebacks of all time,” Como’s statement read.
For Como, who was the last coach to work with Woods (they worked together for just over three years from November 2014-December 2017), the most impressive aspect of the comeback has been watching the tenacity of Woods to keep trying after so many injuries.
He was particularly impressed with Woods’ 64 in the final round at last month’s PGA Championship where he finished second.
“That to me is just an expression on the golf course of how much of a fighter he is just to go what he’s gone through and still have that drive and that belief that he can still play at the highest level, that to me is amazing,” Como said.
What also is amazing is the influence Tiger Woods still has on younger players and, of course, his legion of fans.
At his Foundation’s Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac in July, Woods teed off Saturday afternoon ahead of a couple groups of leaders. Most of these leaders were younger players like Beau Hossler, Zac Blair, and Chesson Hadley.
As Woods stood over his tee shot on the first hole every single player on the practice green stopped.
And watched Tiger.
“I just love watching Tiger Woods play golf,” Chesson Hadley said afterwards.
“Since I was a kid watching him win The Masters in ’97, I just love it.”
So did the fans Sunday at the Tour Championship.
If you watched yesterday’s broadcast you saw hundreds of fans rush the 18th fairway to follow Woods, yelling and cheering him on to the finish. Seemingly everyone had a cell phone trying to film the moment.
Woods noticed this in an entertaining way.
“I guess the art of clapping is gone,” Woods said about the shouting and cheering. “You can’t clap if you have a cellphone in your hand.”
How the times are changing.
“If someone has any interest in golf, even if it’s just a casual fan, they are buzzing about Tiger,” Como said.
Buzzing, yelling, and taking cell phone video.
Better capture the moment now because there’s never going to be another golfer like him.
My Open Preview for NBC Sports Washington.
My story for the Utah Golf Association:
National Golf Day on Capitol Hill revealed golf’s economic impact and showed some promising improvements in the participation of juniors in the game.
Story for the Pacific Northwest Golf Association.
Brooks Koepka entered the British Open in familiar underdog role.
Story for Palm Beach Post.
Jason Day and other players react to Tiger Woods DUI news.Story for golf.com/sportsillustrated.
Copyright © 2019 Garrett Johnston. All Rights Reserved.