Tiger Woods’ incredible Masters comeback adds to his illustrious and…

Tiger Woods' Unbelievable Masters Comeback Adds To His Triumphant, Complicated Legacy

Tiger Woods’ incredible Masters comeback adds to his illustrious and complicated legacy

But he walked the slopes of Augusta National on his own two legs for 72 holes of golf in four days, and that was it.

“It was an unbelievable sensation,” the 46-year-old said after finishing 13th in his first competitive competition since doctors reconstructed his right leg following a vehicle accident on Feb. 23, 2021.

I wasn’t exactly playing my best out there, “he admitted,” but it was great to receive the support and appreciation from all the supporters. Given where I was a little over a year ago and what my prospects were at the time, to wind up here and be able to play in all four rounds, I don’t believe words can really convey it. I didn’t think I’d be able to pull this off even a month ago. “

Let alone 14 months ago, when the doomsday bells began to ring for Woods’ illustrious and historic career.

He’s only three years out from his most recent Masters victory, which was an almost unbelievable comeback to the top following an 11-year major title drought. Woods, on the other hand, was once again playing his way out of the muck.

Is it the End of an Era?

Woods had just completed his sixth back surgery in February 2021, which is why he wasn’t playing in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., even though he was serving as the tournament’s host. He stated that he hoped to be healthy enough to compete in the Masters in April of 2021.

“I’ve been trying to get Tiger to give me a high five at Riviera for almost a decade, and today he handed me a trophy! What a world!” On February 21, tournament winner Max Homa tweeted, “# golf.”

The next day, Woods was coaching Jada Pinkett Smith, Dwyane Wade, and David Spade in Palos Verdes for an episode of the Discovery+ series Tiger Woods: My Game. (In 2018, he agreed to a four-year, $35 million “strategic collaboration” with Discovery.)

And on Feb. 23, at 7 a.m., Woods was driving to Rolling Hills Country Club to film with NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Justin Herbert when his 2021 Genesis GV80 veered into the center divider on Hawthorne Boulevard, shattering the sign that read “Welcome to Rolling Hills Estates,” hit the curb, and then rolled for about 30 yards away from the road before hitting a tree.

To extract him out of the debris through the glass, emergency personnel needed tools, and he was in emergency surgery at Harbor UCLA Medical Center in Torrance within hours to treat a broken ankle and multiple lower leg fractures on his right side.

According to orthopedic trauma specialists, a rod was placed in his lower right leg to stabilize his tibia and fibula bones, and a number of screws and pins were used to fix his right foot and ankle.

It’s hard to overestimate the collective sigh of relief when officials announced that his injuries weren’t life-threatening, despite the fact that it was only 13 months before the sporting world lost another heartbreakingly young sports hero in a fatal accident.

Woods was likely driving at a “significantly higher speed than normal,” according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, but he showed no signs of impairment at the crash scene and criminal charges were improbable.

County Supervisor Janice Hahn asked for a review of that section of road the day after the disaster, citing the fact that 13 accidents had occurred there since January 2020 (with drivers determined to be at fault in 11 of those cases, according to sheriff’s department records).

The crash investigation was completed a month later, but Villanueva said he required Woods’ consent to disclose it, citing a California statute.

In a Facebook Live discussion with reporters, he stressed, “It’s an accident, OK.”

“We’re contacting Tiger Woods in order to be able to disclose the report itself, and nothing has changed from what we know and learned throughout the inquiry.” And everything we did ended up being correct. “

There had been reason to question—and possibly be concerned—about the crash’s circumstances. Woods had just undergone surgery to remove a compressed disk fragment that was compressing his nerve, and his rehabilitation was complicated the last time he underwent back surgery, in April 2017.

He had spinal fusion surgery at the time to address persistent nerve pain in his back and leg. In a hopeful update posted to his website on May 24, 2017, he said he felt better than he had in years. Right now, my only concern is recovery and following the doctors’ orders, “the post stated.” “I’m focusing on short-term objectives.”

Five days later, authorities in Jupiter, Fla., discovered him napping in the front seat of his Mercedes-Benz, which was parked on the side of the road approximately 15 miles from his home, soon before 3 a.m. The driver’s side of the vehicle was damaged, and both tires on that side were flat. He was detained, booked, and released on a charge of DUI.

There was no alcohol in his system, but toxicology tests revealed traces of THC, the primary ingredient in marijuana, as well as four prescription drugs, including the anti-anxiety pill Xanax and the painkiller hydrocodone.

Woods pleaded guilty to careless driving and agreed to participate in a diversion program. He was released from probation a month ahead of schedule in September 2018.

People naturally worried if that was the end of his spectacular career, or if he simply couldn’t bounce back emotionally, despite his physical recovery.

He responded by winning the Tour Championship in 2018 and the Masters triumphantly the following year, followed by the Zozo Championship in Japan in October of that year.

Playing was in my blood.

Woods didn’t come close to being born with a golf club in his hand, but he came close.

Earl Woods gave 3-month-old Tiger a miniature club to play with in the hopes of introducing him to the game at a young age, and by the time he was two, he was competing in a putting challenge with Bob Hope on The Mike Douglas Show.

Woods had won five Junior World Championships before the age of 14 and could drive the ball over 300 yards. In a 1990 interview, Earl promised that his son’s short game was already better than most on the PGA Tour, foreseeing his son’s role as “the first black golfer to” (insert every milestone here) in the sporting world.

So Tiger spent his infancy as the future of golf until he left Stanford to turn pro at the age of 19, when he was basically golf.

And for as long as he could, he fulfilled everyone’s expectations and wishes, his remarkable abilities propelling him to 14 major championships in 12 years, until he couldn’t keep up the pretense that he was more than human any longer.

We’re all going to fall down.

Injuries began to take their toll, with his U.S. Open victory in June 2008 taking place almost entirely on one leg as the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee withered to nothing, four years after he told his coach, Hank Haney, that he only had approximately 20% of the ACL remaining. He wouldn’t participate again until February 2009, but in the year leading up to Thanksgiving, he added six prizes to his trophy case.

Just outside his Florida house, Tiger slammed his Escalade into a fire hydrant and then a tree.

His philandering methods were exposed spectacularly. The wedding bells rang for his marriage to Elin Nordegren, his two children’s mother. The world, as depicted in the recent HBO documentary “Tiger,” was pressed up against the glass, gawking.

His failures and screw-ups—evidence that he’s just a guy, not a god—registered more painfully than they did with most other sports stars, beloved but flamboyant or cocky guys who talked trash or boasted about their strengths, or who never bothered to keep their love of a good time under wraps—due in no small part to his unparalleled rise to the top of his sport.

Woods’ errors in judgment, like his golf game, were epic, resulting in a significantly harsher focus on him than on the countless other athletes who have had reason to apologize or try to make up for a prior infraction.

But Tiger clawed his way back, completing his decade-long comeback with the 2019 Masters title, a victory made all the more life-affirming because his son, Charlie, now 13, and daughter, Sam, 14, were present to witness it, the first time he’d won a major title since they were too young to understand what was going on.

He told reporters after his historic victory, “I was really fortunate to be given another chance to perform something that I love to do.” “But, more significantly, I’ve been able to participate in my children’s lives in a manner that I haven’t been able to for a long time. “I tried for years and couldn’t do it, but now I’m starting to get it and am able to play with them and participate in their sports. That’s something I’ve always regretted not having. “

“Well, you never give up,” he said when asked if he had a message for others who were struggling personally or physically. That is self-evident. You are always in a fight. It’s never an option to simply give up. “

For the Love of Sport

With 82 PGA Tour victories, Woods is equal with Sam Snead for the most ever, but his 15 major titles are still three short of Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record of 18.

Tiger responded with a simple “of course” when asked on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio in 2017 if he felt he could catch Nicklaus after his fourth back surgery, arrest, and when he still had 14 majors.

While winning in 2019 at Augusta, where Tigermania really began when he was 21, was a full-circle moment in one way, there was also hope that it was the start of a new, hungry chapter for Woods, one he could approach pain-free for the first time in a long time.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images for The Match

The 2020 Masters was postponed seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Woods played a key role in diverting sports fans’ attention away from a sad spring by teaming up with retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning to defeat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in a charity match on May 24 that raised $10 million for coronavirus relief efforts.

Woods and Charlie paired up at the PNC Championship in December 2020, a two-day pro-am event when the former world No. 1 stated his own game was the last thing on his mind.

Woods told reporters: “I’m just trying to make sure Charlie has the time of his life, which he is.”

After winning the 2019 Masters, Woods stated that he wasn’t sure if he’d ever lift another major trophy.

During the winner’s news conference, he added, “I had major doubts following what happened a couple of years ago.” “I couldn’t even walk.” I was unable to sit. I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t lie down. I wasn’t able to accomplish anything. Fortunately, the treatment was performed on my back, which allowed me to resume my daily life. But then it dawned on me that I could actually swing a golf club once more.

After the 2021 accident, Woods might have been forgiven for wanting to call it a career, having touched all of golf’s high notes and then some, while also being able to experience one of his greatest successes with his children.

While a comeback may not have been in Tiger’s cards, he should never be written off.

After his 2021 accident, a source close to Woods told People, “He doesn’t want his career to finish like this.” “So, if there’s any way he can keep playing golf, he’ll do it.”

He figured it out.

In November, Woods told Golf Digest, “There was a point in time when—I wouldn’t say it was 50/50—but it was damn near there if I was going to walk out of that hospital with one leg.” “I’ve had some hard days and painful setbacks,” he said of the process, which included transitioning from a wheelchair to hobbling on crutches to walking without assistance. However, I’m making improvement and am able to walk again.

In December, Tiger made his major comeback with Charlie by his side for a repeat pairing at the PNC Championship, which Woods described as a “great day.”

“If you had asked me if I would be here after those three months in bed, I would have given you a different response,” he said. “However, there are no vacation days.” Every day, we worked. Even when I wasn’t feeling well, we continued to work on something. So, other than those three months in bed, there was never a day off during the entire time. “

But what about really competing in the Masters?

The Master of Recoveries

It’s going to be a big challenge, but one I’m up for,” Woods said before the illustrious event began, with fans lining up to see him tee off as if he were the favorite to win it all—as they have for the previous 25 years anytime he has been in the field.

“I think the fact that I was able to bring myself here to this point is a success,” Woods said before his first round on April 7, stressing that swinging the club would not be an issue, but that the mountainous grounds of Augusta National would be.

“Now that I’m playing, everything is focused on how do I reach the point where I’m on the back nine Sunday with a chance.” “I did the same thing a few years ago.”

He opened with a 1-under-par round, which the fans reacted to as if it were 18 consecutive eagles.

While it was all downhill from there in terms of scores, Woods received a standing ovation as he walked off the course after his final round on Sunday, which was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

While he hasn’t said if he’ll compete in the PGA Championship in May, he has stated that he intends to compete in the British Open in July.

Woods told reporters after turning in his final-round Masters scorecard on April 10 that he was just “thankful” to be there.

“I keep repeating that, but I am,” he added. I truly am. I really am. Just to get here, to be able to play, and not only to play, but to play well in the first round. I made it there on my own. I don’t have the endurance I’d like to have, but I didn’t even know whether I was going to play in this tournament until a few weeks ago. “