Yesterday another trophy was added to his mantel. Tiger set atop the leaderboard as the 2009 AT&T National came to a close. Tiger, the host of the event, has now won this title twice. He might have won it last year too, but was out due to a knee energy that took him off the tour for eight months. Anthony Kim won the event last year. And speaking of Anthony Kim, the twenty-four year old found himself in the final group yet again this year. This was meant for a true battle on the links as experienced and much more patient Tiger Woods was to take on a young, all cylinders streaky player in Kim.
Tiger started the day with a handful of pars as Kim made a few birdies. Kim even made his way two shots in front of Tiger. But by the time the day was over, even with a 62 from Hunter Mahan, nothing stopped Tiger from throwing some darts, making some birdies, and walking away with yet another trophy. Number sixty-eight to be exact. (I want to see his trophy case. Or better yet, trophy room.)
Tiger, being the host, was given a lot of grief for winning his own tournament. This is similar to playing with your boss and letting him win because he, well, is your boss. But Tiger said early on in the week that he was not going to let the fact that he was the host stop him from playing to win. Tiger, having a lot of history with the military, mainly the fault of his deceased father, Earl Woods, had a special place in his heart for this event. And why would Tiger not try to win? Give someone else a chance? Yeah, I do not see that happening anytime soon.
But Tiger, being the host, had to present the trophy to himself. And well, as you see above had some fun with it. He decided to interview himself. He did not get too far into before he started to laugh, but he had some fun with it. It was kind of nice, actually, seeing Tiger have a sense of humor. The more and more that I see Tiger talk on camera (did you notice that he never looks anyone in the eyes during an interview) the more I feel that he is reading from a teleprompter. Just listen to him here, even. Everything he says sounds like a speech that he has memorized for this moment. He does say “um” a lot as well.
But I will not judge Tiger. He has more education than most and has a very tough job dealing with the cameras, and fans (like the one that yelled, “You are a freak,” or the one that yelled, “Terrible read Tiger,” during his match) and the publicity that is shoved down his still always private throat day in and day out. I could not image being in a position where he has to protect not only himself but also his family and friends from being scrutinized. Even when calling good friend Roger Federer to congratulate him om his recent victory from the driving range he still gets cameras thrown at him. But he handles it well, maybe better than anyone even close to his demeanor, and still managed to have a very private live.
Tiger is off to Turnberry where he will be going for his forth Claret Jug in a couple of weeks. He will be spending the rest of the week with his family in his Florida home and then this upcoming Saturday will be headed for some practice rounds. I have a feeling that jet lag is also a reason why he goes over there so early. But he will be playing with his A game this year (I am safe to say that the way he hit the ball this week) and all I can hope is that he can make a putt or two.
Just a little bit of trivia for you. Tiger’s last three victories have come two weeks prior to a major. Fingers crossed that he can grab another one on his trek to Jack.