Sunday at the Masters, arguably the most iconic day in Sports and I am still in disbelief on what happened. We witnessed what was said to be impossible, an achievement thought to be out of reach but yet the words "Tiger Woods has won the Masters" was uttered by Jim Nantz on Sunday and I guess it is safe to say the impossible has happened... Tiger Woods is back on top. Some may say, "what is so important about Tiger Woods winning another major." Well, Tigers win Sunday at Augusta was not just a win, it was a triumph, a triumph of a 10-year journey to a place he was told he would never be again.
It was November 2009, and "Tiger Woods in the hospital after a crash near his Florida home," was topping news headlines across the country. Two months later Woods was headlining for the wrong reasons again, publicly announcing he was unfaithful to his wife, letting down both his family and fans. Woods then went on to lose sponsorships with Gatorade and At&T, valued at around 20 million dollars (Golf Digest). At this point, people began to believe it was the beginning of the end for Tiger as his off the course drama began to trump his on the course play. His affairs became publicized and his character was put into question.
As the headlines surrounding Tigers off the course lifestyle calmed down, he began to make his first comeback onto the golf course, a comeback to prove to people he was the same Tiger Woods before all of the drama. Unfortunately for Woods, his body was not cooperating... He underwent four leg surgeries and two back operations in a span of about seven years. These numbers are not including the many minor operations he had while holding the worlds number-one golfer title. After each operation, Woods would rehab play in a tournament and would clearly not be himself. He shot his worst ever professional round of golf and missed the cut at the 2011 PGA Championship, falling out of the Top 50 Professional Golfer rankings for the first time in his career. It was clear Tiger was not Tiger.
Let's fast forward to 2017, Woods is arrested for a DUI after he had a rare reaction to his allergy medicine and crashed his car. He pleads guilty and serves 12 months' probation. When he gets back on the golf course, he continues to have back issues, severely affecting his game. It was in that year Woods was told he may never play golf again... Any sane person would probably stop doing whatever it is they are doing if they got medical advice and were told to do so. In Woods case, clearly, money was not an issue. So why the drive to continue playing? Well that is what makes Woods and his story so remarkable.
As I sit here writing this, his 10-year timeline has gone full circle. The year is 2019, and Woods has gone on a full rollercoaster ride only to end up where we all know he belongs... winning a major championship. This was yet another case of why sports are so beautiful. The sports world erupted after Tiger sank his fifth shot, four-foot putt, on the 18th green, to win the 2019 Masters. Even the other golfers in the tournament were acknowledging the magnitude of this event. Top golfer Dustin Johnson said after his round "it's truly remarkable... there is a difference between a roar and a Tiger roar from the crowd" (h/t CBS Sports).
Instagram posts, Facebook posts, Snapchat stories, and tweets non-stop to constantly remind us that this was not just any ordinary Masters victory. This was Tigers 5th, his first in 15 years, and the end of a long journey. We can all connect to Tiger, a humble person who simply thrives and has perfected his craft. An athlete that has made mistakes, has owned up to them and has not let his mistakes derail his ultimate goals in life. A person who has dealt with adversities with is well-being, countless operations and surgeries and yet he was still able to come together for 4 days in April and prove to not only himself but everyone else what we so longed for, that Tiger can still play professional golf and that Tiger Woods is not going anywhere anytime soon...
As Tiger walked off that 18th green at Augusta national golf course and hugged his son in the same spot he embraced his father, Earl Woods, 22 years earlier after his first Masters win, America took noticed and realized sometimes professional sports is not just a game, it's a platform for all of us to connect and truly realize the beauties in life. Tiger Woods, cheers to you in actually showcasing that anything is possible on any given day no matter what the past has thrown at you.