Tiger Woods’ recent victory hints at impending comeback

Bri Pomonis, Senior Writer

The story of Tiger Woods mirrors those of several other big athletes, riddled with peaks and troughs in his personal life and playing career. However, Woods’ high public profile as one of the best golfers of all time has made his journey one of the most prominent ongoing stories in sports popular culture. After a rapid decline in his public image and going an uncharacteristic amount of time without winning any majors, Woods’ recent string of play and victory at the Tour Championship this past week suggests his future may be headed back in the direction of his glory days.

Tiger Woods became the face of golf following astounding success in his early years. His amateur career resumé boasted 21 wins and he became the first golfer to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur Championship titles at just 20 years old. After playing two standout seasons at Stanford University, Woods officially left collegiate golf to turn professional.

He claimed first place at the Masters Tournament in 1997, an early glimpse of what was to come.  From 1997 to 2008, Woods took first place 14 times between the Masters Tournament, PGA Championship, U.S. Open, and The Open Championship.

Woods’ career, personal life, and public life proceeded to rapidly spiral downward at this time. In 2009, over a dozen women came forward claiming they have had affairs with Woods. He released a statement admitting to his infidelity, and announced he would be taking “an indefinite break from professional golf.” He lost major partnerships with Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade, and General Motors.  Recently, Woods pled guilty to reckless driving in October 2017 after being arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, receiving a year of probation.

His athletic career was not spared from the personal turmoil. After notably poor performances during the title-less 2010 season, Woods cited leg injuries as the root of his atypical record and proceeded to miss several summer tournaments in 2011, and he took more time off in 2012. He missed the Masters for the first time in 2014 to undergo back surgery, but had three other back surgeries in the following three years, resulting in several years without golf.

He has managed to fly under the radar in the past year, but his time out of the limelight may have been what he needed to return to his former success. He had a close brush with victory at the 2018 PGA Championship, where he claimed second place, and he has posted several promising scores since beginning the current season in November 2017. Woods claimed his first major title on Sept. 23 with a win at the Tour Championship, finally ending his five-year winless streak. His inspiring performance throughout the tournament has fans hopeful of more to come during the rest of the season, with the esteemed Ryder Cup scheduled for the week following his victory, starting Sept. 28.

Woods will celebrate his 43rd birthday in December. Still young in golf years, this leaves plenty of time for another ascension.

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