This week's PGA Tour event is the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida, and for a brief moment on Friday, Tiger Woods sat alone atop the leaderboard. A scenario that isn't surprising at all and completely remarkable at the same time. Sure, the name 'Tiger Woods' has been synonymous with the term 'leaderboard' in golf for over two decades, winning a total of 80 times on tour (including 14 majors), and providing a sense of victory before the final round had even started. Yet, the turmoil in his personal life along with an array of back issues left golf fans with a major loss, not knowing if he would ever return to past supremacy; even Tiger didn't know if he would ever play golf again, let alone compete at the highest level.

Where it all started

Tiger's turbulent personal life is no secret, so let's take a step back to that fateful day in 2009 when everything began to unravel. You know, the day that Tiger crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant outside his home in Windermere, Florida, after Elin chased him out of the house with what we can presume to be a 9-iron because he got caught in "extramarital activities."

Everything fell apart for Tiger after this. Elin took their children and filed for divorce; he lost major sponsorship deals; his life was uprooted and dissected in the public media; he entered rehab for sex addiction; he began taking extended periods of time away from the game of golf. He was arrested for a DUI after he was found passed out at the wheel, and he had back surgery on four different occasions.

That's just the cliff notes version.

Why Tiger being competitive matters

Combined with his various health issues and a younger, broader, and more talented PGA Tour field than Tiger competed against in his prime, Tiger being competitive in a tournament has golf fans everywhere swinging back-and-forth on an emotional pendulum.

The fact that he is even playing in a tournament again is a remarkable feat.

Golf was never seen as an 'exciting' sport. It was all-too-often associated with older, retired men, where proper etiquette was above all else. It was a gentlemen's game. Tiger changed that. He made golf exciting. When Tiger was playing, you were watching.

When he held or was tied for the lead after 54-holes, all bets were off. When Tiger stepped on the first tee on Sunday morning, sporting his final-round red, it was over. He had all but won. Up until his loss to Y.E. Yang at the 2009 Players Championship, Tiger had never lost a tournament when he was tied for or leading heading into the final round.

Then the field changed. His absence from the game of golf opened the door for the likes of Jordan Speith, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, and Jason Day, to name a few. The emergence of the young guns.

When Tiger was in his prime, he was the overwhelming favorite in every tournament he entered, and deservedly so. He earned that reputation and warranted that respect.

His focus was unmatched, his drive was unchallenged, and is competitiveness was unrivaled. The mental acuity that Tiger held was almost superhuman. He beat Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff to win the 2008 US Open on one leg. Literally, he played through an almost unplayable knee injury.

These days, there can be anywhere from 5-10 players who have a legitimate shot at winning each week. The field is so competitive it has evolved the game of golf into primetime television. At 41, Tiger has to compete against younger, more energetic players, some of which haven't even hit their prime yet.

The future of Tiger

No one knows if Tiger will ever win another tournament or surpass Jack as the all-time major tournaments winner, but the fact that he is back competing, sitting atop the leaderboard heading into the weekend, is a testament to not only his skill, but his perseverance, determination, and will-power to return to his former self.

Regardless if Tiger Woods never wins another tournament, he will arguably go down in history as the greatest golfer of all-time. Tiger did for the game of golf what the likes of Gretzky, Ruth, and Jordan did for the NHL, MLB, and NBA, respectfully. He paved the way for the incredible talent that now graces the Tour links on a weekly basis.

Either way, having the patented Tiger fist-pump back on the PGA Tour can only be a good thing.