Tiger’s return uplifting to many of us

September 27, 2018

I’ve always been captivated by stories of athletes overcoming personal tragedies.

Baseball’s Lou Gehrig, returning to a hero’s welcome to Yankee Stadium after battling the disease that fittingly was named after him- Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in the late 1920’s certainly pulled at everyone’s heart strings.

More recently great athletes like Serena and Venus Williams overcame the murder of their sister to turn the tennis world upside down and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Mike Wilcox Editor/Publisher

Mike Wilcox

went on to one of NASCAR’s greatest after his father died in a tragic accident on the race track.

Those stories, however, pale compared to what many in the golf world consider one of the greatest comeback stories ever- that being Tiger Woods.

For those that don’t know Woods won the Tour Championship in Atlanta last Sunday, culminating year’s of struggle to become relevant in golf again.

It was a historic scene. Thousands of spectators rushed to the 18th green to see history being made. On television, it could only be described as a human mass as far as one could see. I can’t believe there was a single soul on that course or watching on the television who wasn’t rooting for Tiger. And after sinking the final putt, tears welling up on his face, there was Tiger hugging everyone he could get his arms around.

Tiger was on top of the world a decade ago. He was on track to win the most tournaments and most majors of any golfer in history. He singlehandedly had made golf enormously popular, as children of all ages and colors began taking up the sport in an effort to emulate their hero. There wasn’t a company that didn’t seek Tiger’s endorsement. He was named one of the most popular people in the world.

Then came the struggles. In November of 2009 he smashed his Mercedes into a tree. He was widely rumored to be inebriated and supposedly his wife smashed his driver’s window to free him and get him to safety. A month later he admitted to an affair with a cocktail waitress. Then word spread, there were more affairs. He checked in to a sex addiction clinic in December.

In 2010, many of his longtime sponsors including Gatorade dropped him. His wife began divorce proceedings. In 2012 he had to withdraw from a tournament because he injured his Achilles tendon.

Then came the back issues.

In 2014 he had the first of four back operations. The final operation in 2017-back fusion surgery, appeared to finally have ended the constant back spasms. But then there was more trouble. He was arrested for a DUI in May at 3 a.m. about a mile from his Jupiter, Florida restaurant. Tiger claimed it was due to painkillers he had been prescribed for his back. Police didn’t agree or disagree.

In 2018 he returned to the links. At the beginning of the PGA season he wasn’t competitive, but in the last couple of months his game has made an impressive turnaround, much like his personal life. It culminated last Sunday with the victory in Atlanta.

Admittedly I am a terrible golfer. I couldn’t hit a green from 50 yards out if I took 50 shots. But I do love the sport and I do love watching the game on television. I owe that love to Tiger, who captivated me, much like Michael Jordan, at a young age.

Like so many others, I was rooting every step of the way for Tiger to once again be crowned champion. None of us have perfect lives. We all have to overcome our personal tragedies and demons. It’s nice to see one of our hero’s is back on track with life and golf.

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