Sport is not short of great personal comebacks but Tiger Woodss Masters victory on Sunday may overshadow them all, including Muhammad Ali, Niki Lauda and Monica Seles

In the springtime of 2014 Tiger Woods was at work on the series around the back of his house, practising his short game like ever. Periods earlier he had shot a 78 on the last day of the Cadillac Championship, the worst fourth-round score of their own lives. His back had been spasming but he felt he had to get out and exert. He stroked a bust hit over a bunker and the instant “hes had” finished the waver he fell down flat on his back, overcome with a suffering so severe that he could hardly breathe, let alone get back on his foot. He was out of hearing distance and he did not have his mobile phone on him, so there was nothing he could do but lie there and wait for someone to come.

It was his seven-year-old daughter, Sam, who found him.

“Daddy,” she said, what are you doing lying on the dirt ?”

” Sam, thank goodness you’re here ,” he informed her.” Can you go tell the people inside to try to get the cart out to help me back up ?”

“What’s wrong?”

” My back’s not doing very good .”


” Yes again, Sam, can you please lead get those people ?”

There are an awful lot of Timbers legends but this one, which is in the excellent biography Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian wrote last year, ever seemed one of the most revealing because it speaks to the pain he has stayed, the mortification he has suffered and the behavior in which it has all been laid out for the rest of us to see. Here is Woods, the great athlete, helpless as an upturned glitch; Woods, the proud champ, pleading with his kid to create someone who can get him back on his paw; Groves, a humanity so intensely private that he used to refuse to tell people where he would be playing the very next month, having that helplessness picked over in instant item by beings like me in book and on TV.

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Tiger Woods since triumphing his last-place major

Tiger Woods has prevailed his fifth Masters title and first major in 11 times after victory in Augusta on Sunday.

It has been a long road back for the American, who has suffered innumerable hurts and off-course problems.


On November 27, 2009 reports emerged that Timbers had been injured in a car accident near his Florida home after colliding with a fire hydrant and a tree. Over the next days and weeks the same reasons behind the accident became clearer, He said he had “let his family down” with “transgressions” and announcing an indefinite smash from golf. He lost major sponsors including Gatorade and Gillette over his revelations of multiple infidelities and he and his wife Elin Nordegren divorced.

Phoenix not rising

Woods , now determined to return to the pinnacle of golf obeying his self-imposed years in the wilderness, recorded the worst round of his profession in January 2015 as he shot an 11 -over-par 82 in Arizona. His second-round performance at the Waste Management Phoenix Open left him 13 over and final in a 132 -man field. Woods told reporters afterwards: “It’s golf, we all have daytimes like this.”

Don’t call it a comeback

In June 2016 he announced he was unable to compete at the US Open, the second largest major of the year, adopting two back runnings in the space of six weeks. He pointed a 15 -month absence from video games in November but in January 2017 he missed the cut in his first PGA Tour event in nearly 18 months, exiting the Farmers Insurance Open after finishing his first two rounds on four over par.

The master misses the Masters

The former nature number 1 was unable to contest the 2017 Masters. The chance to compete at Augusta 20 times since he first won the light-green casing was denied to Woods who continued to suffer from nerve pain which had necessary three procedures in the seat of 19 months.

Under the affect ?

In a throwback to his indiscretions of autumn 2009, in May 2017 Timbers was arrested on notion of driving under the influence in the early hours of Memorial Day. He received a year of probation after pleading guilty to reckless driving and was ordered to undergo 50 hours of community service.

Victory again

In September 2018 Groves shot a one-over 71 for a two-shot victory at the Tour Championship in Atlanta – the 80 th victory of his PGA Tour career and his first in more than five years.

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There are plenty more. One could talk about those first sickening moments in 2009 where reference is disintegrated his SUV into a tree or the weeks after, when he shut over all the windows of his house with butcher’s article to keep the paparazzi cameras out. Or the private luncheon at a Beverly Hills Country Club in 2016 when he had to walk up a flight of stairs downwards because it was the only way he had been able to make it, or how, when he was arrested for driving under the influence in 2017, he could not even tell the police if he was in Florida or California, whether he was coming home or going from it.

On Monday morning the talk around Augusta and everywhere else they play golf was all about sweeter situations, like how high-pitched this victory figured among Woods’s 15 majors and exactly where it graded among the great sporting comebacks. Now “theres nothing” easy answer to that because one has to stack up hundreds of different accomplishments across dozens of separate epoches, which of course was precisely why everyone was chatting about it.

How do you evaluate what Lumbers did here against, say, the route Niki Lauda finished runner-up in the F1 championship the same season he disintegrated at the Nurburgring? Lauda was back racing six weeks after he came out of coma. Or Mario Lemieux, who led the Pittsburgh Penguins to their first President’s Trophy in the very same season he finished his radiation care for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, while he had a back injury so severe he could not put on his own skates and practically flout Wayne Gretzky’s scoring record while he was at it? How does it compare with Lester Piggott winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile at persons under the age of 54, only 10 daytimes after he finished a year in prison for tax fraud? Or Monica Seles’s victory at the Australian Open in 1996, three years after she was stabbed in the back on courtroom in Hamburg?

Injury and personal problems seemed to leave Tiger Woods a spent force by 2017. Photograph: Warren Little/ Getty Images

And all that is before one gets to the greatest of them all, Muhammad Ali, who won back the heavyweight championship seven years after he was stripped of it and had his boxing licence suspended because he refused to be drafted to fight in Vietnam.

Woods was reluctant to claim it was even the best comeback in his own play. He points to Ben Hogan, who won the US Open one and a half years after he virtually been killed in a auto disintegrate. Hogan was hit by an oncoming bus. He hurled himself across his wife’s lap to protect her from the impact and, while she was uninjured, he suffered a divulge pelvis, collarbone, ankle and ribs. They mended again but he stood with blood clots for the rest of his life and had to have emergency surgery. He was told he would never walk again and then he went on to win another six majors.

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Photograph: Chesnot/ Getty Images Europe
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And hitherto, for all that, one can say this much: Woods’s storey is unique in one important behavior, unlike all those others, in that he did not suffer physically or personally but physically and personally. He has been tormented in body and soul, his mas interrupted, his back smashed and fused back all going together, his reputation shredded and the bits and pieces strewn out for the rest of us to pick over. And here he was, treading off that 18 th green, Masters champion, with his family around him, having make everything is back together again.

” You never dispense with ,” says Woods.” That’s a granted. You ever opposed. Simply giving up’s never in the equation .”


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