Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Greatest Comeback Ever? Tiger Woods

Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course, the space between your ears - Bobby Jones

So are most sports, one can argue. Especially those played at the highest levels. Let alone playing golf, I didn’t even follow it. However the comeback story of Tiger Woods deserves attention. It is one of the great comeback stories of our times, if not the greatest.
Such stories inspire in a special way – there is a reason Mr Bachchan is a legend, Steve Jobs so special and movies like Gladiator and Cinderalla Man (true story) stay with you.

Back to Woods who seems to be back from the woods 😊

A child prodigy. He became the youngest-ever winner of the Masters in 1997, aged 21, by an astonishing 12-stroke margin and was ranked as the world’s No 1 golfer two months later. He subsequently spent a record 281 consecutive weeks and total 683 weeks at the top. His domination of the sport was complete.
That he was black, in a sport of traditional white dominance, was also pertinent. He routinely suffered prejudicial treatment at golf clubs in his youth.
1997 – 2009 was the golden period. Then hell broke loose.

November 2009 – break up of marriage. Became untouchable for advertisers.
2010 - therapy for sexual addiction.
May 2017 – arrested for driving under influence
Nov 2017 – ranked 1193 in the world. Hit rock bottom
2019 – comeback year. And how.

How big is the Masters win? It came nearly 11 years since he won his last major. While 2018 was a good year, now the comeback is truly complete. He won his 15th major, leaving three short of the standard set by Jack Nicklaus. It was his 81st victory on the PGA Tour, one title away from the career record held by Sam Snead.

Is this the greatest comeback? There are caveats. While it is remarkable, his return is not as unlikely as Jack Nicklaus' when he won the 1986 Masters aged 46, 24 years after his first major and six years since his last, let alone that of Ben Hogan, who won six of his nine majors after the car crash in 1949 that doctors feared might mean he may never walk again.
Outside golf's preppy boundaries there is the 1993 comeback of Canadian ice hockey icon Mario Lemieux, diagnosed mid-season with Hodgkin's lymphoma, playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins the day his radiation treatment ended, finishing that season by winning another NHL scoring title.
And there is Muhammad Ali, who sacrificed his best years for a far nobler cause than lonely waitresses and came back to win his world title in a way that is rightly lauded to this day.
Woods also took major risks throughout his career and came out on top -
Had a LASIK eye surgery in 1999 to correct his vision – at that time it was a new procedure
Changed his swing thrice in his career – while he was still on top of his game
Had a total of 4 spine surgeries. The last surgery (lumbar fusion) involves cutting open your tummy and pushing aside the internal organs to reach your spine.

The comeback also resulted in bookies losing millions of dollars as the odds of 14 to one went against them. That is indeed rare.

The odds are worth beating especially if they are stacked against you!!

Sources -

If you have the time i would strongly recommend the above BBC link on the same story.