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Countdown to the Masters Tournament

I love my champions. Thomas Edward Brady Jr., Larry Joe Bird, Pedro Jaime Martinez, Jordon Alexander Spieth, Bobby Gordon Orr, Kevin Maurice Garnett, just to name a few. Correct, there is a Boston bias with this love affair. We love our heroes because we fantasize a little, no, a lot, when it comes to our sports. I am 61 years young. I am a PGA golf professional. I have experienced an incredible amount of pain and pleasure from all these behemoths. That makes us adore them even more.

A new golf season is back on TV, which brings the next character into the discussion. A man who would be clearly sitting at the table with the aforementioned is Tiger Woods. Love him or hate him, he is deserving. I am rooting for him, again. Here are my reasons for supporting his latest comeback.

–We are both coming off injuries that have impeded noteworthy performance. OK, Tiger’s had four back surgeries and four knee surgeries, but having my right hip replaced this winter counts for something and curtails five years of deteriorating golf movements. Noteworthy performance you ask! Tiger’s 79 PGA Tour wins is laudable. My 79 rounds of breaking 80, many in Pro-Am competition, can’t be discounted too quickly. Although, his $110 million in career earnings douses my $3,200 like a July evening downpour on the 4th tee. In any case, the last 15 months away from golf have certainly given him the chance to do what he does best, get jacked! He certainly looks prepared for the grind anew.

–At 42, Tiger is late in his PGA Tour career. I have referenced “teeing it up on 13th tee” when it comes to my place in the career cycle of 18 holes. If we stay healthy there are still some superb moments ahead for us. Tiger has been the PGA Tour Player of the Year eleven times. I think it is possible for him to attain number twelve. Proudly, I think I have eleven seasons that were shank-free. No matter your achievements longevity demands a ton of passion and purpose. Those attributes have and will serve us both well going forward.

–Competitive juices never die! The athlete and competitor that exists in us is ready to give it a go at almost any moment. This is really true when the player happens to be striking shots near or on the center of the club-face. Having confidence that 7 footers are pouring in helps immensely, too. Tiger must have felt pretty good heading to Torrey Pines this past week. Finishing T23 will supply a nice jolt to the confidence meter. My competitive juices are stronger than at any time in the last five years. You should see the abundance of 7 footers I am making in the living room this winter.

–I am also connecting with Tiger because we are strong advocates for golf and life. The Tiger Woods Foundation has been serving thousands of kids in California for twenty years. The foundation boasts a 98.7% college graduation rate. There is no way we could quantify how many children decided to play golf since 1995 because of his skills on the course. At Eastman Golf Links we pound home the message that golf can be learned and enjoyed at any age. Our members, property owners, guests and extended family are given the chance to succeed at golf while embracing life and the outdoors. We have at least a 98.7% “great experience” rate.

Torrey Pines was playing at 7698 yards last week. Tiger’s best drive was measured at 358 yards. He made over 80 feet of putts in his Saturday round. I think Tiger still has his fastball. Problem is he has too many curve-balls with the driver. The game of golf will be better served in 2018 with him participating regularly on the PGA Tour. You still need to squint to see the April 2018 Masters hype. I just hope Tiger is in the field. I definitely will not be.