Quincy Troupe on Twenty-Twenty Vision; or, Tiger Woods as 'The Comeback Kid'

Watching him receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom after what some commentators called ‘the greatest comeback in sport’, 43-year old Tiger Woods winning his fifth Masters at Augusta, Georgia – and his 15th championship – , I am reminded of poet Quincy Troupe’s poem The Shot, a poem in tribute to the great golfer after his winning his last Masters in 2005 – 14 years ago. All this after years of personal as well as professional problems, including several back surgeries.

The poem is reprinted from Quincy Troupe’s collection The Architecture of Language (Coffee House Press, 2006).

QUINCY Troupe (1939-), formerly Poet Laureate of California, the author of eleven volumes of poetry, is perhaps best known for his books on Miles Davis (1926-1991): Miles: The Autobiography (Simon & Schuster, 1989 – Miles Davis with Troupe), and Miles and Me (University of California Press, 2000), on his friendship with the legendary – and sometimes prickly – jazz trumpet great.

He has also written extensively on essayist and novelist James Baldwin (1924-1987).

This year, 2019, he is current with two new volumes of poetry from Northwestern University Press: Seduction: New Poems, 2013-2018, and Ghost Voices: A Poem in Prayer, a meditation on the Middle Passage.

UFI// 6 May 2019

THE SHOT for Tiger Woods, at the 2005 Masters

we watched him loft a chip shot from the rough
on the 16th, the ball dropped from the sky
like an aspirin in the middle of the green,
then we saw it move right like pure magic,

like a basketball player pivoting
before making a deft move on the hole,

this spinning little white ball made a beeline
in the direction of the cup,
crawling over the green it had twenty-twenty vision,

everyone watched, held their breaths,
when it got to the lip of the cup it lingered,
trembled at the edge like it was afraid of heights,
before dropping like a ball of sugar
into a cup of black coffee,

then the crowd erupted as he kneeled,

then stood, ramming his balled fist into the sky,
celebrating having been blessed with a miracle
cameras caught him in his signature logo

& everyone knew then the rest was pure glory