As if the Legend of Tiger Woods needed another chapter, but darned if he didn't author another scintillating bit of prose while winning yet another major title.
It's hard to say whether he had the intention of writing one of the most striking tales while winning the U.S. Open in a 19-hole playoff last Monday, but suffice to say he accomplished it.
The win was his sixth in a major over the last 14, which includes 12 top-four finishes. Improbable for anyone not the owner of the nickname of a ferocious jungle cat.
Everyone watching the U.S. Open already knew that Tiger was coming off knee surgery two months ago, but certainly grimaced a bit each time Woods was brought to his knees by the pain.
Watching the post round comments by Woods, I was a little puzzled by his repeated "I'm done" statements, until it was made public on Wednesday the extent of his injuries. A torn ACL and two stress fractures to his tibia made this an awe-inspiring win that even boggled his competitors.
You can't tell me that Woods didn't realize that his knee wasn't right nearly from the get-go at Torrey Pines, but the intense will and pain threshold that he showed in even competing shocked me. When you figure in that he played an extra 19 holes to earn the win, twisting and putting untold torque on that unstable knee. Oh yeah, don't forget that the course yardage figures out to walking somewhere near 23 miles during the tourney.
Curtis Strange called the win 'mind boggling' and Jay Haas commented that 'Ninety-five percent of the players probably wouldn't have teed it up. . .Tiger just wasn't going to lose.'
Likely just as astounded were orthopedic surgeons watching along with the rest of us to see how Woods first surgery went. Now Woods will have his fourth surgery on the same knee.
Rest assured that Woods certainly earned all the recovery time he needs while taking care of his body. He'll even get to spend more time with his wife and one-year old daughter, which should certainly cushion the ache of non-competition. But that drive to win will have to lie dormant until next year's Masters Tourney, which should provide an enticing backdrop to his return.
Until that time the networks will have to hold on for dear life and hope that TV ratings won't spiral too terribly without Tiger's presence. While his peers surely respect the ability that Woods showed in willing his way to victory over Rocco Mediate on Monday, you have to believe that they are licking their chops at a wide open set of Tiger-less tourneys.
While the cat is away, the mice will certainly play