The Greatest Comeback: Tiger Woods
In a survey done by Wishbone in October of 2018, 100,000 people voted Tiger Woods as the greatest of all time (g.o.a.t.) in golf. His competitors for the vote were Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Bobby Jones, who are some outstanding golfers. Brandel Chamblee, a well-known golfer, golf commentator, and author spoke to Josh Berhow about how he believed Tiger could never win a professional tournament again. Tiger is much older than most of the men on the professional golf tour, has had several back injuries, and has had several emotionally challenging scandals.
Woods has been golfing since he could walk. At the age of two, he was on CBS News and The Mike Douglas Show showing off his talents on the putting green. As soon as he was strong enough to be swinging a club, he was winning tournaments. Tiger won the Optimist International Junior World starting at age eight, and then again at ages nine, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen. At age 16, he was nominated Player of the Year by Golf Digest and maintained that title for years. Tiger continued to win his matches throughout his teen years and later went on to play golf for Stanford University.
After two years at Stanford, Woods left the university to become a full-time professional golfer. At the age of 20, he won 9 tournaments, formed the Tiger Woods Foundation, and won $940,420 his first year being on the tour. The following year, he not only won the Masters Tournament, but he won it while breaking the record for the lowest score in 4 days. Tiger continued a phenomenal trend of wins and made large earnings. He continued, year after year, to break records on the course with his game, and off the course in his bank account. Each year, he was making 5 to 10 million dollars by winning tournaments; additionally, he was sponsored by Nike, Coca-Cola/Gatorade, TaylorMade, Rolex, Monster Energy and Bridgestone, accumulating over $50,000,000 of sponsorship money.
In November 2009, while Tiger was married to Elin Nordegren, an article was released claiming he had an affair with Rachel Uchitel. Afterwards, early in the next morning, Woods was in a minor car accident outside his home in Florida. The press, along with the police, had many questions over the coming weeks. Several women publicly came out and admitted to having affairs with the professional golfer. This caused sponsors, such as Gatorade, to stop their marketing, sponsorship, and funding. This was a huge shift in gears for Tiger; he went from the top of the world to his rock bottom. He dropped out of several tournaments in order to sort out his personal life.
Tiger continued playing on the tour after his scandal, however, he wasn’t breaking records and constantly winning like he use to. Woods’ fans stuck with him, encouraging him to play and win. Despite the support shown towards him, in 2014, Tiger was forced to leave the tour. He had a severe back injury that needed surgery and rest. While Tiger was not playing, a new generation of golfers filled his spot as they became champions. Jordan Spieth began to break some of Tiger’s records and shortly after became the new number one golfer. Spieth broke Tiger’s record by winning the Masters Tournament at the age of 19, two years younger than Tiger, who won it at age 21.
While these new golfers began taking Tiger’s spot on tour, Tiger was busy managing his companies. The Tiger Woods Design and Tiger Woods Foundation saw several large advancements. Tiger built and is still building beautiful golf courses around the world, while his foundation is helping support better educations for underprivileged students.
After taking an official “break from the game”, Tiger reappeared on tour playing in the Masters in 2015. Now, he had to compete against younger men who were equally as talented as him. Tiger had always been on top, but when he didn’t win after three years of playing, golf analysts, such as Brandel Chamblee, began saying that he could never win again. People doubted that he could return to his former glory because of his back injury, the scandal, and the new players. However, in September of 2018, Tiger Woods captured his 80th professional win at the Tour Championship, a major golf competition. As a result, the following week, Tiger played in the Ryder Cup. This is the World Cup for golf; countries compete against each other at a different course every year. In 2019, Tiger will be the team captain of the U.S. team.
Tiger, from a very young age, has been playing golf. Not only has he won over 100 tournaments, but he has also overcame some tremendous obstacles. He has come back from a life changing scandal in 2009. He came back from from a large back injury where doctors said he might not be able to play again. Also, he has had to face several issues of racism on the golf course, as Tiger is both african american and asian. However, despite these facts, Tiger has moved mountains to get to where he is today. Tiger Woods has more people watching him on a Sunday afternoon than those watching a NFL football game. He has changed the way people play golf and they way people watch golf; he took the sport to the next level.