News & Opinion

It's a world full of hope, thanks to Tiger

Isn’t it odd how everything seems different since Tiger Woods won the Masters? Peace is guiding the planets, harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abound.

Television ratings were terrific for Sunday at Augusta; that was a given. Woods is to TV ratings what charcoal lighter fluid is to struggling barbecue pits. When he’s a factor, you go from smoldering briquets to raging fire in no time.

The financial outlook for the golf industry has taken a significant turn north, to be sure. What’s more, stories are suggesting the entire American economy has been positively impacted by Woods’ comeback coronation.

Seriously, who hasn’t been? You can bet that Jim Nantz never will be the same. The veteran sportscaster and Masters host called what he most recently witnessed at Augusta National “the best event I ever covered.” Coming from Nantz, that’s saying something. He’s like the Farmers Insurance of broadcasting, i.e., “He knows a thing or two, because he’s seen a thing or two.”

The event certainly caught the attention of President Donald Trump. A day after the Masters wrapped, Trump informed Woods that he would be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. If you didn’t know, the medal was created in 1963 by President John Kennedy, to be awarded to one who has made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Overcoming personal adversity to win $2.07 million at an invitational golf tournament certainly fits the criteria. Especially if it’s done without cheating, eh Rick Reilly?

Let’s face it, the president is just acknowledging the obvious. Everything seems better with Woods back in the major-championship saddle, and anything seems possible.

Ask the Columbus Blue Jackets. Just hours after Woods hugged his children by the 18th green, the Blue Jackets beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of their playoff series, then whipped them again two days later to sweep. The Lightning had 62 wins and 30 more points than the Jackets during the season. The broom was supposed to be in their hands.

How else do you explain that, other than the Tiger effect?

What about Joaquin Phoenix? The eccentric actor once played the despicable Roman emperor Commodus in the movie “Gladiator.” Now Phoenix is playing Jesus in “Mary Magdalene,” which was released the same weekend when Woods was metaphorically rising from the dead at Augusta. Even the most cynical among us would concede that is a serious moral uptick.

Why, just hours after Woods left Butler Cabin, Katy Perry collapsed at her place on television’s “American Idol. The show presented it as a reaction to a performance by someone named “Uche.” But, c’mon, we know better. She just got a text … “Tiger won the Masters!”

And look at what happened in Pennsylvania. Two days after Woods ended his 11-year major-championship drought, the state’s House of Representatives tabbed the Eastern hellbender salamander – aka the snot otter – as its overwhelming choice to be the official state amphibian.

You think that little mud devil isn’t ecstatic about Woods winning the Masters?

S’true, it hasn’t all been good. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris tragically burned. But experts are saying the building’s most hallowed structures and precious artifacts have been saved. Moreover, French billionaires, no doubt inspired by Woods’ historic triumph, are pledging hundreds of millions to restore the old girl.

Just admit it. Woods’ winning the Masters has put a whole new perspective on things. Dentists are struggling to find cavities; telephone solicitors are losing phone numbers; dogs have stopped shedding; diets are working. The Publishers Clearing House will be knocking on the door any day now.

Still skeptical? Consider this: Four days after the “Miracle on Magnolia Lane,” The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of an experimental gene therapy that has liberated eight infants with the so-called bubble boy disease.

Released from the protective isolation units that have encompassed their early lives, they now are playing like other children their age. Though Dr. Ewelina Mamcarz of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., did not mention Woods by name, she did say, “We believe that the patients are cured.”

Thank you, Tiger. Thank you.

Dan O’Neill, who covered golf for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1989 to 2017, is an editorial consultant on golf for Fox Sports. His articles have appeared in publications such as Golfweek, Golf World, Golf.com and The Memorial magazine. Email: dan13153@gmail.com; Twitter: @WWDOD