Despite all the doubters, Tiger Woods won his first major golf tournament in 11 years and his first Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia since 2005, completing one of the biggest comebacks in sports history.
Born Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods in 1975 in Cypress, California, Woods has become one of the most decorated golfers of all time, ranking only behind the legendary Jack Nicklaus in major tournament and PGA wins. Woods began his career at the ripe age of 20. Within a year year, he had won the largest tournament in golf, the Masters, and multiple other PGA Tour events.
Over the first decade of his career, Woods was one of the most dominant players in all sports, let alone golf. From August 1999 to September 2004 and then June 2005 to October 2010, Woods was the top-ranked player in the world, ultimately winning 13 major tournaments.
Woods’ career began to derail in 2009 when he took a leave of absence from the sport to deal with personal issues. That Thanksgiving night , Woods’ then-wife Elin Nordegren went through his phone while he was sedated with Ambien. Nordegren discovered a supposed affair and impersonated her husband, via text, into coercing the women to admit the affair. Once her suspicions were confirmed, proceeded to chase a drowsy and disoriented Woods out the house with a golf club, ultimately leading to Woods driving his SUV straight into a fire hydrant and tree. After the Thanksgiving incident and inevitable divorce, Woods lost up to a reported $22 million in endorsements but kept his partnership with Nike. Woods’ career took a bit of a dip after his media presence was shattered with extramarital affairs, as he dropped to 58th in the golf rankings only to momentarily regain his top spot in 2013. Soon after, Woods injured his back and began a trend of not participating or withdrawing from tournaments due to injury.
Woods had four back surgeries between 2014 and 2017. During this time, Woods completed only one tournament and ultimately fell out of the top 1000 golfers in the world. On top of everything, Woods was arrested in 2017 for a DUI charge and eventually pleaded guilty to reckless driving. Both physically and emotionally wounded, it seemed like Woods would never play golf at the same level, or ever, again.
From his lowest point, Woods realized that he had to change something in order to adjust to his pain. Instead of trying to fight through it, Woods altered his swing in order to relieve the pain. After getting past the learning curve, Woods won a PGA Tour Championship in September 2018 and, most recently, won the 2019 Masters.
Woods went from one of the most dominant athletes of the 21st century to rock bottom only to fight his way back up to his winning ways. Despite past accusations of adultery, avid viewers of golf seemed to have forgiven Woods, as evidenced by the pure jubilation in the crowd and on social media. Everywhere you looked, people were rooting for the poster boy of the sport of golf. Riding his confidence, golf fans may be in for the second coming of Woods over the next decade if he can regain his old composure and swagger.