Tar Heel Fan

Monday, July 24, 2006

And Tiger Cried...

Tiger Woods finished off a masterful performance Sunday winning the British Open at -18 two stokes ahead of fellow American Chris DiMarco. Woods, in his trademark final round red shirt, tapped in for par on 18, pump his fist in the air and then walked over, embrace his caddie and broke down in tears. It was the first time since losing his father that he had won a golf tournament. As he moved into the crowd he found solace in his wife's embrace and the tears fell freely. It was a incredible moment of raw emotions and a glimpse of humanity in a player who is known for his intensity on the course and a singular focus on winning. For any son who has lost a father, Tiger Woods' tears reminds us that grief needs only a perfect intersection of events to dominate our will. The moment we lose someone close to us we enter into a "new reality." We are forced unwilling by death to awake in the morning without that person in our life, without the benefit of hearing their voice or enjoying their company. Their counsel is forever lost and memories which begin to fade almost immediately are all we have. Grief comes in waves, at first like tidal tusnami's nearly drowning us in pain and sorrow. With each rising sun we adjust, we come to terms with their absence and understand that their legacy is our to protect and carry on in our own life. The grief with was a storm surge the day he died ebbs aways to small waves lapping our bare feet on the beach. There are those occassions, especially in that first year where the "firsts" make those waves stronger and bring us once more to a broken heart. The first birthday or Christmas, Father's Day or Thanksgiving all carry with them the sorrow of missing someone who had been a constant figure in our lives. Tiger Woods faced one of those "firsts" on Sunday. As he stepped off the 18th green he came to terms with the "new reality" of his life without his father. Earl Woods would not be amid the throng of well wishers to give him a hug nor could he pick up a phone and here his father congratulate him on another major win. It was the first time he had won without his father seeing it. And as he walked off that green into a new reality he found a caddie to absorb his tears and a wife to steady him against the torrent of grief newly rising. And the comfort for Tiger Woods is he has crossed one more barrier on the road grief would have him walk. He has come to terms with another part of the new normalcy he must live now. And it doesn't mean he won't look for his father the next time he wins before catching himself or shed a tear when he misses him now and again on an 18th green somewhere. But in many ways now he really can move on.


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