For most people -- heck, even for most sports fans -- watching golf is very boring. But yesterday, even casual fans everywhere were glued to their multi-screen TV/tablet/hologram-projector setups to watch the only guy who seems to make golf exciting pull off possibly the greatest comeback in the history of sports. That's right: Tiger Woods -- Tiger effing Woods, a 43-year-old who could barely walk a few years ago and who hadn't won a major tournament since 2008 -- won the Masters, golf's most prestigious tournament, in the year 2019, by a single swing of a club.
It wasn't just a "comeback" in the sense that this marked the first time Tiger has ever won a Major (one of golf's four biggest annual tournaments) while trailing heading into the final round. This was a comeback a decade in the making. Back in 2008, Tiger was comfortably on track to be without argument the greatest golfer of all time -- he was already second in all-time Majors won -- but then the wheels fell utterly and completely off. Let's quickly recap what this guy's had to deal with -- whether as a reasonable consequence of his own actions or not -- since his last major title:
- You may remember this one: in November 2009, what started out as a weird story about Tiger getting in a weird car accident near his home spiraled into a far weirder one. The guy whose image was once, it's easy to forget, very clean-cut, saw that image get extremely besmirched with the gradual reveal of affair after affair, delivered with almost perfect comic pacing.
- In the fallout, almost all of his sponsors dropped him, as did his wife, who divorced him less than a year later.
- Tiger became physically unable to play golf, and had four back surgeries following a series of lackluster comeback attempts.
- A very depressing 2015 Time magazine interview revealed Tiger could barely walk, couldn't bear to watch golf on TV, and had no timetable for returning to golf.
- He went four years without a single tournament win of any size, was missing tons of time due to injury, and his career was mostly written about in the past tense.
- In 2017, he got a DUI near his home after being found asleep in his car, which was stationary in a traffic lane with its engine running (Tiger blamed the effects of mixing prescription drugs and later said that he had completed an out-of-state intensive program to tackle an unspecified issue).
But, somehow, he's back. And the greatest golf prodigy to ever play is now, as a 43-year-old without much of a hairline to speak of, and against all odds, once again a champion.