In 2017, he’s been dropped out of the top 1,000 in the official World Golf Ranking. But over a week ago, on Sunday, April 14, 2019, Tiger Woods has made one of the greatest comebacks in the sports history: he’s won his fifth Masters at the age of 43, 14 long years after his last triumphant finish at Augusta National in 2005.
Gone for so long, now he’s returned—in his familiar black cap, dark pants, and red shirt, underneath that prestigious green jacket.
Woods’ victory has spread like a wildfire, and continues to make headlines and front pages all over the world. His fans have immediately taken the call for celebration, while the critics seemed to have let bygones be bygones. Whether you’ve known him because of his remarkable feats, or heard about him and his controversies through the grapevine, Wood’s recent milestone deserves recognition.
Several years prior to this resurgence, Woods has been on the firing line. It is inevitable to commemorate this historic win without looking back at history—or rather, his story; one that is an amalgam of grit and glory, of desperation and disdain.
However, such a story is exactly the reason why people—supporters and detractors alike—are going to talk about him time and time again.
Woods is the first black man and the youngest ever to have won the Masters at the age of 21 back in 1997. Since then, his career records and statistics have skyrocketed to what can only be argued as one of the greatest of all time. He’s won 15 majors—just three short of the record set by Jack Nicklaus—dominating the four most distinguished annual tournaments in professional golf, namely: Masters Tournament, PGA Championship, U.S. Open, and The Open Championship.
The many years that transpired between his first and latest major success are not at all faultless. 2009 has particularly been a crippling year. Roughly five years after his marriage with Elin Nordegren, marital problems have engulfed the couple—parents to Sam Alexis and Charlie Axel.
What added insult to injury are the several reports of Wood’s infidelity. In December of that year, following more claims from women who’ve come forward to expose their sexual encounters with the golfer, Woods has taken an indefinite break—to no avail; in the next year, 2010, the two have been officially divorced.
Woods has since taken the epic fall from grace, and the depths of his despair could only get deeper.
While he has remained a newsmaker, it is not entirely because of any more career highlights. His string of romantic relationships with high-profile girlfriends has kept him in the spotlight.
Amid these personal issues, Woods’ health has not been in the best condition, too. From 2014 to 2017, he has undergone numerous surgeries—both minor and major—primarily for his back pain. These medical operations have inevitably impacted his play, and his professional performance has eventually gone down the hill.
Also, at one point in 2017, Woods has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence; he later pleaded guilty for reckless driving.
Once the greatest golfer of his generation, Woods has suddenly become somebody that everyone used to know—trying to find his way out of the deep and dark abyss he has gotten himself into.
But not long after, he seems to have found the way back.
It is 1997 yet again. More than two decades ago, a young Tiger Woods has been seen running to his father Earl’s arms after clinching his first ever Master win. Today on his fifth, and now a father himself, Woods has done exactly the same gesture, only this time, he has wrapped himself around the arms of his son Charlie.
“I love you son,” he says, the same words Earl has uttered to him back then.
For what it’s worth, having been at the deep end and rock bottom has humanized Woods. His story of redemption goes beyond the recollection of his titles and accolades. More than anything, it is about his return to glory after what many have deemed an insurmountable struggle.
In an interview shortly after his win, Woods admits to being dubious about his future in relation to what transpired a couple of years ago. “I couldn’t do much of anything,” he says. But he has remained resilient, “Giving up is never in the equation,” he adds.
Story continues on Page 2…