Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Stuff of Legends

“I was convinced that luck was a matter of knowing what one wanted and then being willing to work to make the wish come true.” 
~ I Walked with Heroes, Carlos P. Romulo

Barely a week into checking out this autobiography of Gen. Carlos P. Romulo from the Peace Corps library in college, my circle of friends and I decided the opus was overly replete with the author’s narcissistic indulgence.  So before finishing the book, I returned it and moved on to the next title.  This was back in the summer vacation of 1963.

Almost half a century later, I still wonder whether if I were not too impulsive in my youthful exuberance to pass judgment on the great man’s style, and persevered through the rest of the book, I could have learned something that could have altered the trajectory of my career.  Whether you loathe him or you love him, Dr. Romulo’s narrative resonates with the stuff of legends.

Little wonder therefore that these ruminations would haunt my reverie while watching Tiger Woods slug it out in the back nine with Bo van Pelt on his way to capturing his third PGA Tour victory this season, at the “AT&T National hosted by Tiger Woods.”  The string of victories Tiger garnered this year were such stuff as legends are made of in more ways than one.

Firstly, it seems uncannily coincidental that he would break the thirty-month victory hiatus by winning the tournament hosted by King Arnie, the most beloved of living legends in golf.  Then after faltering through a few significant events, notably including the Masters and the Players, as if to hint that maybe the Bay Hill triumph could have been a fluke, he would capture Jack’s Memorial trophy, giving notice that he was back for good measure.

Aside from tying Jack’s record of 73 PGA Tour victories, Tiger’s triumph was noteworthy for winning a tournament hosted by yet another living legend of golf.  Tying Jack’s record at the tournament hosted by Jack himself was a definite veritable tale of legends.  Then he would fizzle midway through the U.S. Open, once again rekindling the embers of doubt into a virtual smoldering.

But the dramatics on the 12th hole at the “AT&T National hosted by Tiger Woods” would ooze enough intoxicants to quench the fire of anguish in most Tiger Woods acolytes whose faith may have been shaken by the U.S. Open fizzle.  As if to recruit himself into the roster of living legends of golf, Tiger virtually asserted that this year he would concentrate on winning mostly tournaments hosted by living legends of golf.  Thus he broke Jack’s record by asserting himself into the mix both as a host and a contender and not just a pretender to the record.

The victory catapulted him to the top of the FedExCup leaderboard, a comfortably familiar territory.  The intimidation factor may have been blunted some but the Tiger come back appears unmistakable.  After surpassing Jack’s total victories tally, he can now refocus on Jack’s Majors tally.  So I may venture to prognosticate: after the Congressional is done can Royal Lytham or Kiawah Island be far behind?

I certainly hope not.  Then my prognostications on page 304 of my book, Flirting with Misadventures, shall have been at least partially vindicated:

“I am as certain as that the sun shines in the East come morning, that a rehabilitated (and forgiven) Tiger Woods is infinitely a more valuable asset to humanity than a fallen, disgraced, and damaged colossus of much more than just golf.”