This weekend something really awesome happened. Tiger Woods won his 75th golf tournament. There was a time when a Tiger tournament win would have been par for the course(excuse the pun) and the number 75 would have been just another chip shot on the course to greatness. But that feels like a life time ago. It’s been three years since we’ve seen that dominant Tiger we all knew back then. Now its a rarer thing to see him win. In fact its a rare thing to seem him even competitive. Just his last tournament he missed the cut. Rory McIlroy is now golf’s little darling. Most importantly golfers aren’t afraid anymore. And I think that’s a good thing.

My grandmother didn’t like Tiger Woods. She didn’t like anyone who won all the time.(On her list of unlikables was Duke men’s basketball team, The Lady Vols, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong and Michael Jordan) I on the other hand was a huge Tiger fan and I still am. Setting aside the right and wrong of his actions and any conversations about sex addiction I’ve been a bit saddened by his fall from golfing grace. Tiger was a symbol of hard work paying off. He was the ultimate domination of a sport. I fed off hard work guys who crushed the competition. I wanted so much to be like them. Then again back then I was a fan of  Superman too. As I grew older however the idea of a perfect specimen with no flaws grew kind of boring. So I began to dislike superman and he really became the butt of a lot of my jokes. I grew to love Greek tragedies, flawed heroes, and stories of redemption. So when all the dust settled from Woods personal life I latched on to the story of a man’s fall from grace and his attempt to rise again.

I remember a point last year watching a tournament and thinking to myself that I hadn’t seen Woods that happy in a long time. He really does seem a bit happier to me. He’s not dominant but he at times is competitive. He has a new young rival with whom the old him is often compared. He’s human again. In a lot of ways its been great for golf. Everyone is waiting to see when the “old Tiger” will come back. Every shot, every lead, and every win makes for more drama as does missed fair ways, blown leads, and missed cuts. Throughout it all though Woods seems… okay. He has less tirades and less explosions than i remember. He’s quick with a joke about his play and always has an eye on the future. He may not be a better golfer but in a lot of ways he seems to be a better man. Closer to the man we dreamed he was.

I like Tiger’s win. I hope its the sign of greater things in the future. I still think he’s one of the best in the world. Woods himself was quick to squash any conversation about “The Old Tiger” explaining that he’s just a different guy with a different game. I totally agree we’ll never see the old tiger again. But all things considered I’m ok with that. For now I just love that Tiger one his 75th and did it with a smile on his face.