Tiger Refused To Lose

By Edward Wanambwa
Updated: June 18, 2008

SAN DIEGO — Tiger Woods captured his 14th career major championship with a thrilling playoff victory over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

Just when you think that Tiger Woods has done it all he surprises you and adds to his already incredible legacy. This year’s win at Torrey Pines ranks up there with the greatest events in the history of sports.

Playing in his first tournament after having knee surgery, Woods limped and hobbled his way around Torrey Pines for 91 grueling holes and emerged a champion.

Tiger refused to lose this week. Even when it looked like he was going to come up short, he managed to find the courage to continue the fight. Tiger’s courageous effort evoked memories of other legendary performance in sports.

Who can forget the 1997 NBA Finals and Michael Jordan’s heroic performance in game 5 versus the Utah Jazz while suffering from the Flu and a high temperature.

Jordan was so weak that prior to the game he was told by his teams trainers that he couldn’t play, but Jordan defied all odds and played anyway.

At times he was so weak and tired that he had to be iced down with cold towels during timeouts, but he refused to quit and played all but four minutes of the entire 48 minute game scoring 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block to help lead his team to a World Championship in the series.

After the game Jordan collapsed into teammate Scottie Pippen’s arms after playing the game of his life. He refused to lose !!!

You can’t mention legendary golf performances without talking about Ben Hogan’s win at the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion GC after suriving a near fatal car crash in1949.

Doctors told him that he would never walk again let alone play golf, but Hogan found the courage and overcame all odds by claiming victory only 16 months after the crash.

Walking the fairways with bandaged and sore legs Hogan found the courage and committment to win. He refused to lose.

Ken Venturi also comes to mind when you talk about gutsy performances in major championships. His legendary U.S. Open title at Congressional Country Club in 1964 ranks as one of greatest achievements in the history of the game.

Under a doctors care and suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration, Venturi battled on and fought to finish the grueling 36 hole final round in oppresive 100 degree heat.

At times Venturi had to lie down desperatley trying to catch a very minutes of rest. But despite the challenges facing him, he fought on and refused to lose ! Ken Venturi shot rounds of a 66-70 to win a heroic and legendary U.S. Open.

Tiger Woods is an athlete that comes along only once in a lifetime. He always seems to find a way to deliver a big shot or sink a clutch putt when he needs to.

Failure simply isn’t an option for himwhether he’s up by 10 shots or trailing by two shots, Tiger finds a way to win. This week marked Tiger’s Hogan and Venturi moment.

All week Tiger deflected questions about his knee and simply said ” it’s ok and I am going to see what it does”. He refused to allow the knee to become an excuse for why he might not win the U.S. Open. After all true winners don’t use excuses.

Hole after grueling hole Woods hobbled around Torrey Pines and kept playing and fighting not to let the championship slip away. At times the pain brought him to his knees and you could hear him scream in pain after hitting his tee shot.

After each round Tiger was faced with question after question about his knee and he would always answer th same way, ” I am going to get some treatment tonight and I will be ready to play tomorrow”.

Tiger Woods wrote another chapter in the history of the game this week and forever established himself as the greatest player to ever play the game. Tiger called his win at Torrey Pines his greatest win ever and I would have to agree.

I have never seen such a display of courage, skill, and determination displayed by any single individual. Tiger simply refused to lose !!!


It’s now official — Tiger is out for the season. After the sudden death playoff Monday, Woods has opted to have season ending knee surgery.

It appears that Woods suffered a stress fracture while preparing for the U.S. Open and decided to compete despite his doctors opposition. The fact that Tiger was dealing with more than just routine knee surgery makes his accomplishment even more amazing.

The world of golf will have a huge void to fill for the remainder of that 2008 season. Woods will skip the remaining Majors and the 2008 Ryder Cup matches.

I am sure the casual golf fan will also skip the remainder of the year because Tiger won’t be playing. I am certain that his fellow competitors won’t be upset with the act that Tiger’s miss the rest of the season.

Woods’ decision to sit out the remainder of the season changes the landscape and tone of professional golf in a major way. Will we see another first time winner in the two remaining majors this year?

Maybe or maybe not, but if this is there chance to get while the Tiger mends and gets read for the 2009 season.

Tiger, get well soon.