To quote the great Jim Nantz off the bat, Sunday afternoon ... err, morning at Augusta National Golf Club made for a scene that many doubted would ever happen again. And let’s not deny the wonders that spectacle on the 18th green will do for the game — at least in the short term — as some 43-year-old dude by the name of Eldrick Tont Woods, better known as “Tiger,” stepped foot in Butler Cabin to put on the green jacket for a fifth time in his illustrious career.
There were roars. There were hugs and tears — both on the game’s most hallowed grounds and in front of your living room TV, if you were able to appreciate what transpired. And there were chills as we were all seemingly transported back to 2005 — Sundays finally made great again just two years after Mr. Woods was just happy to merely be able to walk.
Okay, so you get the point. I could write a novel here about how Tiger Woods — with one epic 18 hole march at the world’s most famous and exclusive golf club — capped off one of the greatest career comebacks the sports world has ever seen. But we’ll save that for major title No. 16 (fingers crossed). What am I here to write about is that before April 14, 2019, we had gone 14 years without Tiger finishing on top at Augusta. If I tried to tell you that in 2005, you’d have every right to permanently ban me from the club grounds considering how outrageous such a concept was. Only thing is, it actually happened to the man who was once and perhaps still is larger than the game itself.
14 years. That’s a long, long time. If you want to feel old, that was more than half of my life ago. If you want to feel old, we reached a point where there were teenagers on this planet who were not alive the last time Tiger put on the jacket.
If you want to feel old, heck, let’s journey back to see how TCU athletics looked when green jacket No. 4 arrived for Tiger back in 2005. Because that’s exactly what we’re going to do here.
Make no mistake: The mere thought of this even scares me, the writer, considering how much as changed in the 23 months since I graduated from the fine, fine institution in the heart of Fort Worth. The place is always changing, after all, though the thought of a on-campus hotel seems, um, excessive? Maybe.
But without any further delay, get strapped in, because we’re going back to the wonderful land of Texas Christian University, 2005 edition to show you just how long we truly waited for the sight of Tiger roaring in that red mock turtleneck at golf’s tradition unlike any other.
TCU athletics in April 2005
- The Horned Frogs have just been admitted to the Mountain West Conference, where they will spend the next seven school years before finally joining the Big 12 in time for the 2012-13 school year.
- Seventh year athletic director Eric Hyman is fresh off being named the athletic director of the year in 2004, and is on the verge of leaving the post he has held since 1998 for the same role at South Carolina.
- Lupton Stadium is two years old, and both Among G. Carter Stadium and Schollmaier Arena (then Daniel-Meyer Coliseum) are both still at least half a decade away from undergoing extensive renovations.
- Gary Patterson is approaching his fifth full season as TCU’s head coach, as is Chad Glasgow as the team’s safeties coach.
- The Horned Frogs are coming off a 5-6 finish in 2004 but have already posted double-digit wins in a season twice under Patterson.
- TCU’s offense features Tye Gunn at quarterback and Robert Merrill at running back to begin the upcoming season.
- TCU has not faced Texas in a decade (the final season of the Southwest Conference in 1995) and has not defeated the Longhorns since 1992.
- TCU has never been featured on an episode of ESPN College GameDay
- The Horned Frogs are five months away from a stunning Week 1 road victory over a top 10 Oklahoma team that includes Adrian Peterson and current day TCU receivers coach Malcolm Kelly — the latter who will emerge as an All-American freshman for the Sooners that fall.
- TCU is at a closer point in history to LaDainian Tomlinson’s final season as a Horned Frog (+/- 4.5 years removed) than it is to the Rose Bowl Victory (+/- 5.5 years to go).
- Present day OC Sonny Cumbie has just exited Texas Tech as the nation’s leading passer in 2004 and is weeks away being signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent.
- Future TCU defensive end and 2010 first-round draft pick Jerry Hughes is wrapping up his junior year of high school at Fort Bend Austin.
- TCU’s seniors for the 2019 season are finishing either first or second grade.
- Current early enrolles such as Max Duggan and Donavann Collins are still in preschool.
- TCU is fresh off a 21-14 finish under third-year head coach Neil Dougherty, reaching the third round of the NIT. The Horned Frogs, however, won’t reach the 20-win mark or the NIT again until Jamie Dixon takes over during the 2016-17 season.
- Corey Santee has just finished his TCU career, with an overall average of 18.6 points and 5.6 assists per game in four seasons at guard as a Horned Frog.
- TCU has gone seven seasons without an NCAA tournament bid and will still have to wait another 13 years before that drought reaches its end.
- TCU is on the brink of a 6-25 mark during the 2005-06 season, still to this day the program’s worst overall record in the past 20 years, and won’t finish above .500 again until the 2014-15 season.
- Jamie Dixon has just finished his second year as head coach at Pittsburgh.
- Kansas is fresh off its first regular-season Big 12 title since 2003 and will win the conference every year until 2019.
- Alex Robinson and J.D. Miller are finishing third and second grade, respectively.
- Jim Schlossnagle is in his second season as TCU’s head coach.
- The Horned Frogs are averaging 1,562 fans per home game — a mark that has since jumped to more than 4,000 as recently as 2016.
- TCU is on the brink of winning back-to-back Conference-USA tournaments.
- TCU is still five years removed from its first of five trips to the College World Series.
- Among the true freshmen on the Horned Frogs’ roster is future St. Louis Cardinals All-Star Matt Carpenter, who will finish the season with 41 starts and 11 multi-hit games.
- Future World-Series champion pitcher Jake Arrieta is months away from announcing a transfer to TCU.
- Present-day TCU pitching coach Kirk Sarloos has just earned the final spot in the Oakland Athletics’ starting rotation for the 2005 season.
- Present-day ace Nick Lodolo is wrapping up first grade in his hometown of La Verne, Calif.
Other sports notes
- TCU men’s golf is on the brink of a fourth consecutive conference title (of course).
- Rifle is still five years away from its first of three national titles
- Beach volleyball will not be introduced at TCU for another decade
- Dutch’s is still two years away from opening
- The TCU bookstore is 11 months away from catching on fire (yes, this really happened, for you younger folks who may not have been aware).
- The library is still 9 years away from undergoing major renovations
- The current campus commons is still a parking lot, as is the Tomlinson garage adjacent to Amon G. Carter Stadium.
- P.E. Clark and Marion Halls are among the numerous TCU structures that will not exist for at least another eight years.
- There is no such thing as Heim BBQ in Fort Worth, and I never want to go back to a world that does not include that.
- The author of this article had hopes and dreams of attending the University of Southern California amid the heart of the Leinart/Bush era and never in a million years wanted to venture to Texas for college. Needless to say, those hopes and dreams did not materialize, and I am thankful for that each and every day.