In case you missed it, Francesco Molinari became the first Italian to win a major golf championship on Sunday. And he did it in relatively dominant fashion, with his last 37 holes at or below par. His victory was sealed when Xander Schauffele bogeyed the 17th hole on Sunday, placing him two back and needing an eagle on the Par-4 18th to force a playoff. It was compelling golf for that reason alone, but a return of sorts for Tiger Woods may have been the story of the weekend.
I don’t mean to discount Molinari’s performance, and writing about Tiger seems to be the angle that a lot of coverage took this morning. But Tiger Woods was one of the reasons that I really started caring about gold 20 years ago, and his absence from the top of the golf leader board over the past few years has led me away from the game, so I was pleased to wake up to tweets that he was leading the tournament early Sunday.
This reminds me of the 86 Masters when everyone was rooting for Jack and for the worst things possible to happen to everyone else.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) July 22, 2018
To say that Tiger has had some issues would be an understatement. Once thought destined to challenge Jack Nicklaus for career major championships, it has now been a long ten years since his last victory in one of golf’s four majors, his 2008 victory in the U.S. Open. He has been less than dominant in that decade, with large stretches away from the game to deal with both personal issues and injuries, including multiple back surgeries.