When the assessments are made about the 2022 golf season and there is mention of Tiger Woods’ return to action one needs to embrace a bigger picture.
Should the view be of those uncharacteristic recent appearances in the Masters (47th), PGA Championship (withdrew after three rounds), and Open Championship (missed cut)? If so, you’d be doing yourself a disservice.
That’s because a special group of 60 youngsters from a pool of thousands in mid- October saw Tiger Woods’ 2022 season in a pulsating light, in awe with him not so much as a competitor but as a mentor.
Yes, he accepts that transition, recognizing at age 46 that his dominating majestic talents are less likely to be experienced again. He moves forward with head held high.
“I’m not one who gets very teary-eyed very often about anything,” he said at this summer’s Open Championship. “Life moves on. And I think that’s what people understand.”
And what Woods clearly understands is his new place in golf—as an iconic figure who can lead and inspire another generation and offer them ways to help themselves become better people.
Should you surmise that Woods is as proud of the TGR Foundation as he is his 15 major championships, you’d understand why he spent several days at three iconic brands—TGR, TaylorMade, and Pebble Beach Golf Links—intersected out on the Monterey Peninsula.
It was the TGR JR Invitational and from about 600 junior golfers who submitted applications, including videos and written essays, that 30 boys and 30 girls were chosen to take part.
What they got was Tiger Woods’ undivided attention; a chance to watch arguably the game’s greatest player flash some short-game brilliance around The Hay, a 761-yard, nine-hole par-3 course that he redesigned right next to Pebble Beach Golf Links; and a competitive arena that started with 27 holes at The Hay and moved to The Links at Spanish Bay for 18 holes.
Marvel at any number of talents that Woods brought to the PGA TOUR stage, but there still is something incomparable about his consistency. In 13 of his first 18 years as a professional, Woods won at least three times and he had at least one win in each of his first 14 seasons.
Then transfer that respect to what he has done as a mentor and as someone who puts his name on a foundation that has this as its mission statement “To empower students to pursue their passions through education.”
Consistent with that, this TGR JR Invitational is about providing participants with the experience of a lifetime and Woods has fully invested in making it “competitive, yet fun and purpose-driven.”
Motivating words from Woods were a highlight to a Q&A session at the invitational dinner. For several days, the “Dig in the dirt” sign at The Hay reminded youngsters that they can find success at golf by working and practicing.