In the 2000’s, the name Tiger Woods was eponymous with golf. Starting his professional career at the age of 20 in 1996, Woods dominated the sport for the next decade-and-a-half. During this period, he created the world record for being the top-ranked golfer for the most consecutive weeks (281) and for the greatest total number of weeks (683). He was also awarded the PGA Player of the Year a record 11 times. However, a string of personal incidences and physical injuries took a toll in his golfing career – as the once formidable name in the sport slowly faded into oblivion for the better half of the 2010’s. However, in 23rd September, 2018, Woods produced the comeback of comebacks by winning the 2018 PGA Tour Championship – his first victory in over five years.
Woods’ downfall was initiated by a National Enquirer article published in November 2009 – that claimed he had an extra-marital affair with a New York City nightclub manager. A couple of days later, Woods crashed his car and was treated for minor facial lacerations. The timing of the accident intrigued several media outlets, who started delving into Woods’ transgressions during his golfing career. Under intense pressure from the media, Woods finally admitted of several incidences of infidelity after multiple women claimed to have affairs with him. These array of incidences transpired over a period of just a few weeks and garnered massive media coverage – forcing Woods to issue a statement that would be taking “an indefinite break from professional golf” to sort out his marital life.
Woods finally returned a year later – after divorcing his wife and being severed of multiple sponsorship deals by large corporations. The hapless Woods didn’t quite regain his previous form back and produced a series of lackluster performances over the next couple of years. Nonetheless, in 2013, he managed to win two World Golf Championships in Florida and Ohio and returned to being the world number one in terms of ranking. The glory was intermittent, as he further failed to mesmerize audiences with the kind of play he was known for. The following years witnessed Woods’ battle with physical injuries that he sustained during the course of various games. He underwent back surgeries in 2014, 2015 and 2017 – and took a prolonged absence from professional golfing. During this period, he fell to #1200 in World Golf Ranking in December 2017.
However, Woods produced an array of strong performances in 2018 that saw him climb over a 1000 places to be ranked #26 in August. While ardent fans whispered the notion of a potential comeback, critics stated that a victory was required for the comeback to be “complete.” In the Tour Championship of the 2018 PGA Tour, Woods finally unleashed a performance reminiscence of his glory days. Backed by five consecutive birdies on the front nine, he managed to win the tournament, his 80th PGA Tour victory overall, to produce the comeback of a lifetime.
Prior to his downfall, Woods had already cemented his position as one of the greatest golfers of all times. Now, after a tumultuous eight years, Woods have justified his mastery over the sport with yet another win. While fame and glory had previously sidetracked him away from Golf, one can only hope he has learned from his mistakes and just focus on playing the game he loves.