While Tiger Woods was en route to winning his 76th PGA TOUR event at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral on Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers were nearly 3,000 miles away turning their season around with a convincing win against the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center.
The beautiful irony for the Southern California sports fan is that Woods, a Cypress, Calif. native grew up an avid follower of the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. The former world No. 1 won by two strokes to get off to one of the best starts of his career on the PGA TOUR, winning two of his first four starts. After going winless in 2010 and 2011, critics and fans alike were wondering whether or not they’d ever see Woods in legendary form again.
Now, with Woods playing the way he has, the golf world seems right again. No one brings people to the game, especially casual fans who wouldn’t otherwise watch, like Tiger Woods. The Lakers have the same effect on the NBA.
That’s because when the Lakers are better, so too is the NBA. They are a polarizing team from a national standpoint and even have a fair amount of haters in and around Los Angeles, but now that the purple and gold have surpassed the .500 mark for the first time this calendar year and are playing their best basketball of the season when they need to most, it’s become an even more compelling story to follow than when they were struggling.
In addition to the team, watching Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant turn back the clock and become his vintage self for the better part of this year has been amazing. Bryant has put together season averages of 27.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists and in recent games against the New Orleans Hornets and Toronto Raptors, his performances have been other-worldly (42 / 7 / 12 vs. HOU, 41 / 6 / 12 vs. TOR).
Woods, 37, and Bryant, 34, are entering the twilight of their careers, but each has still managed to perform at a high level. In fact, both are aging well — Bryant has a new apropos moniker, “Vino” that says as much. But it was Woods who looked like he would almost never return to form. In fact, he still hasn’t. However, if he can win one of golf’s four majors this season, then he will without question be the Tiger Woods that the game sorely needs.
All is right in sports world for now with the kindred spirits winning in unison. Here’s to hoping they can keep going and keep making us proud.
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