Jack Nicklaus has always been the singular motivation in Tiger’s career ever since he was a wee cub. Going into this week he needed only one more win to tie Jack for second on the all time PGA Tour wins list. So, as Tiger is apt to do, he added a little exclamation point when got his 73rd PGA Tour victory by making birdies on three of the last four to shoot a five under 67 and win “Jack’s Tournament” at The Memorial.
The exclamation point was the shot of the day or, as Nicklaus said afterward, a shot that should be at the top of Sportcenter’s Ten Best for the next month. After making his third two-putt birdie of the day on the par five 15th, Tiger missed the green on the par 3 16th 50 feet from the hole in the heavy grass long and right leaving himself an impossible up and down to keep his run on track. With the green sloping drastically away from him to the water behind, getting or keeping it on the green was a task-leaving a makeable par putt seemed highly unlikely.
So Tiger did what only Tiger can do-with the tournament on the line he hoisted a full Otis Elevator into the air and landed it on the only six inch square piece of green that would avail him a save and watched the ball languish it’s way down to the hole and drop in. We haven’t seen pitching drama like this since his Nike hanging chad on the 16th at Augusta in 2005. After that roar the field did not stand a chance.
The ensuing adulation was not restricted to the regular fans. Nicklaus, sitting in the broadcast booth said it was “the most unbelievable, gutsy shot I’ve ever seen”.
A routine stinger iron to the center of the fairway on 18 and a crafted 9 iron draw off the back side wall of the green to ten feet led to the final birdie to nail his 73rd PGA Tour win and tie his childhood idol.
Tiger likes winning in front of golf immortals-he clearly feels at home in their presence. He won Arnie’s tournament at Bay Hill earlier this year for the seventh time and now he has won Jack’s tournament for the fifth time. In fact this is the fourth time he has won both Arnie and Jack’s tournaments in the same year. Today’s performance was another clarion call announcing that Tiger belongs amongst them.