Eldrick's Record Tying Win

Well done, Cat.

Jim Rome
October 28, 2019 - 12:07 pm
Tiger Woods

USA Today

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If you crushed pizza this weekend and went out and saw a movie—then you have more in common with Tiger Woods than you think. Because that’s exactly what the Cat did while waiting out a rain delay in Japan that postponed the second round of the inaugural zozo Championship. But this isn’t about Domino's Pizza or Joaquin Phoenix’s take on The Joker. And this sure has hell isn’t about what you have in common with the Cat because the similarities end there.

This is about El Gato traveling across the world for an appearance paycheck and somehow coming home with his record-tying 82nd piece of PGA TOUR hardware.

I say somehow because no one expected Eldrick to seriously contend this week. Dude was under the knife two months ago for his fifth knee surgery and hasn’t played a decent tournament since the Memorial way back in May. And if you’re looking for more recent history on why Vegas had this guy at 40 to 1 to start the week—then check out his missed cut at The Open, followed by a WD at Liberty, capped off with an uninspiring 37th place finish at the BMW in a field of just 70 other sticks.

Oh—and then there was the skins game Monday night in Japan where he rinsed a sleeve of Bridgestone’s en route to a humbling loss to Jason Day.

Nothing about Tiger’s game the last five months would have led anyone to believe a trophy ceremony was in his future last night. Especially since he bogeyed the very first three holes of the tournament he won yesterday. But this is becoming the theme with old man Eldrick. When you think he’s got it—he doesn’t. And when think he’s washed for good—he’s not.

Remember after he won the Masters, Honk Nation was predicting a second Tiger Slam before he could even slip into his fifth green jacket—only to then watch their demigod miss the cut at two of the three remaining majors. And then when everyone had him written off before put a peg in the ground at the zozo—he goes out and wires the field to tie Sam Snead’s impossible record of 82 PGA TOUR victories.

And this wasn’t your typical October field, either. Rory, Spieth, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Tommy Fleets, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, and Gary Woodland were all there. And so was the native son, Hideki Matsuyama, who pulled up on Tiger’s bumper and tailgated him the entire way into the scoring tent last night. But the Cat held him off and sealed the deal with a very fitting bird on the 72nd hole.

Winning on the TOUR is never easy—especially when you’re not the crowd favorite for the first time in your entire life. And especially when a four day tourney turns into a five and half day tourney. 

But now Tiger can say something he’s wanted to say since going pro way back in 1996: No one in the history of the game has won more than him. And when he was stuck on 79 for five years—those three dubs he needed to match Sam Snead looked and felt like 30. Yet, somehow in the last 14 months the Cat has ripped those three wins he so desperately wanted. And in the process he’s gone from being ranked outside the top-1000 to just outside the top-5 in a matter of two years.

So credit, where credit is due. Truth is, for years, that’s all I did, was give this guy credit.  When he was running the table and running the world. And then for years, all I did was crack on him, when he was running skanks, errrr. Bouncing his rig off trees and having his wife bounce his 9 off his face. And I now I vacillate between the two. Because you never what you’re going to get from the Cat. Right when you think he’s dead, he’s not.  And if you allow yourself to believe the hype, he inevitably shuts down.

So what’s next? How much does he have left? Who the hell knows? At this point—why does anyone even try to answer these questions anymore? What a waste of time. The guy is impossible to figure out. Yesterday he was talking about playing into his 50’s 18 months after saying he might not ever play again. Clearly he can still win. And clearly he can still miss cuts. He ran down Snead. And I feel pretty confident in saying, he’ll go by him.  Just as I’m confident in saying he’s not going to run down jack. Just as I’m confident that if you sit down to lunch with him a couple of your buddies, you can expect three checks.

In the meantime, credit where credit is due. Well done, Cat.  Nice to see you’re still in it to win it and not just to cash appearance checks.  And I’ll trust you didn’t Kuchar your caddy after you did it. See, don’t at me and tell me I don’t give this guy credit. Because I do. And I just did.

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