Tiger Slam? Stop That Train

Tiger Woods celebrates after winning the 2019 Masters during the final round of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Augusta, Georgia. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Dreaming again of White Chocolate Georgia Pecan cookies and hanging out under the ol’ oak tree.

Thrusting me back into reality was a question posed somewhere on the interwebs. A golf fan asked a golf writer if Tiger could win the Grand Slam. Simmer down, please.

Yes, what he accomplished at Augusta National last week was special, significant and signals his return to pro golf’s elite – if for some reason observers didn’t include him there after he finished top-6 in the final two majors of 2018 and won the Tour Championship.

Yes, he’s won before at the next two major championship venues. He claimed the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, site of the PGA Championship, May 16-19. And has a rich history at Pebble Beach, where the U.S. Open returns in June, winning by a record 15 shots 19 years ago. Those two facts will give the TV folks plenty of material in the weeks ahead.

Also, don’t be surprised if Woods challenges for the No. 1 spot in the official world golf ranking by the end of the season. He jumped from 12th to sixth Sunday night and Paul Azinger said Monday morning forget the rankings, Woods is No. 1 right now. Per usual, Zinger makes a good point.

But he’s not going to win the Grand Slam. (Yes, I remember writing Saturday morning that he wasn’t going to win the Masters). There are too many talented players and too many variables in golf. Do I expect him to contend? Sure. Just don’t get carried away. The pro golf landscape has shifted since last Thursday, not changed entirely. Dozens of players are talented enough to win a major. Remember that 26 pros won their first major in between Woods’ victories at the 2008 U.S. Open and 2019 Masters. Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and a host of others are on that list and aren’t likely to go anywhere.

Love or hate CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz, but he’s covered the biggest sporting events for more than three decades and calls the 2019 Masters the best of them all. Bold statement made two or three days after the green jacket was slipped on Woods’ shoulders.

One more thought: Yesterday, I was standing in line in my local grocery store. The manager was helping the cashier by bagging meat and produce bought by the customer who was ahead of me in line. The customer was not wearing golf clothes. I can’t say for certain that either man plays the game. The manager said to him, “That was some golf tournament last weekend, wasn’t it?” Three days later in a town 275 miles away, a major golf tournament was still in the conversation. No offense to Koepka, Rory or anyone else. But that’s how Tiger moves the needle. He’s the only golfer, ever, whose presence transcends the sport.

Still, it was special.

If you haven’t had enough yet, here are words to read from the 2019 Masters.

Below is my four-part series for Augusta.com on the enhanced fifth hole at the Masters.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four

I wrote this for Forbes SportsMoney

Michael Bamberger wrote this for Golf.com

Jon Gordon’s book, The Energy Bus, is a favorite. Read his thoughts on why Woods’ win was so popular.

Here are final thoughts on the week for StarNewsOnline.