With a nasty back nine on Friday, Tiger Woods has put himself in the hunt as we head into the weekend at The Masters - and it appears that golf's normally snooty fans are fully back on board. Frankly golf has gone from boring-to-most to boring-to-all since Thanksgiving of 2009 when Eldrick got caught with his "hand" in the "cookie jar", so it's not much of a surprise that his re-emergence in the first major of the year has the golf media salivating for a story.
El Tigre shot a pedestrian one-under 71 on Friday and made three bogey's on the front side before catching fire around the turn. Making birdie on 10, then back-to-back-to-back birdies on 13, 14, and 15 before a ridiculously strong armed pop up fade from the rough, under the trees on the right side of the fairway at 18 - giving him a bogey-free 31 on the backside. The 66 on the card was good enough to move Tiger into a tie for 3rd at -7, just three shots behind leader Rori Mcilroy - who, at the young age of 21, is looking a strangely like Rosie O'Donnel at 36.
Who knows how Tiger will do tomorrow, as he has been prone to giving us glimmers of greatness in the last year - Saturday at Augusta and Pebble in 2010 most notably - but the interesting part is how the fans have reacted. By the time Woods dropped in his birdie on 18, the fans in Georgia seemed to have forgotten all about his marital indiscretions and were full on the bandwagon, hooting and hollering as he walked off the green.
While its clear that if Tiger can keep himself in the mix through Saturday and early Sunday that all eyes will be focused on Woods coming down the stretch, but the question will be what happens if he wins? How short of a memory do sports fans have? Or how much do they care about the off-field stuff versus what happens between the ropes?
One has to assume that Woods can never reclaim his former spot at the top of the sports universe, but there have been plenty of scenarios where a championship or two is all a sports star needs to get back what may have previously been lost - just ask Kobe.