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 outpouring of 2014 Tiger Woods was at work on the straddle around the back of his house, performing his short game like always. Dates earlier he had shot a 78 on the last day of the Cadillac Championship, the worst fourth-round score of his life. His back had been spasming but he felt he had to get out and exercise. He stroked a dud shooting over a bunker and the minute “hes had” finished the waver he fell down flat on his back, overcome with a ache 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 sand ?”

” 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 disappear get those people ?”

There are an awful spate of Woods storeys but this one, who come 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 stood, the humiliation he has suffered and the space in which it has all been laid out for the rest of us to see. Here is Lumbers, the great athlete, helpless as an upturned fault; Woods, the proud endorse, alleging with his kid to accompany someone who can get him back on his paw; Lumbers, a guy 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 detail by parties like me in publish and on TV.

Quick guide

Tiger Woods since acquiring his last-place major

Tiger Woods has acquired his fifth Masters title and first major in 11 years after succes in Augusta on Sunday.

It has been a long road back for the American, who suffers countless traumata and off-course problems.


On November 27, 2009 reports emerged that Timbers had been injured in a car accident near his Florida home after crashing with a fire hydrant and a tree. Over the next days and weeks the reasons behind the gate-crash became clearer, He said he had “let his family down” with “transgressions” and announcing an indefinite break from golf. He lost major patrons including Gatorade and Gillette over his discoveries 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 times in the wilderness, recorded the worst round of his career 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 eras 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, espousing two back enterprises in the space of six weeks. He resolved a 15 -month absence from video games in November but in January 2017 he missed the cut in his first PGA Tour event in virtually 18 months, departing the Farmers Insurance Open after finishing his first two rounds on four over par.

The master misses the Masters

The former world-wide number one was unable to contest the 2017 Masters. The chance to compete at Augusta 20 years since he first won the green jacket was denied to Woods who continued to suffer from nerve pain which had required three enterprises in the space of 19 months.

Under the affect ?

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

Victory again

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

Thank you for your feedback.

There are plenty more. One could talk about those first awful moments in 2009 when he disintegrated his SUV into a tree or the weeks after, when he sealed over all the windows of his house with butcher’s newspaper 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 things, like how high-pitched this victory figured among Woods’s 15 majors and exactly where it ranked among the great sporting comebacks. Now there is no easy answer to that because one has to stack up hundreds of different achievements across dozens of separate ages, which of course was precisely why everyone was chatting about it.

How do you appraise what Woods did here against, say, the channel Niki Lauda finished runner-up in the F1 championship the same season he crashed at the Nurburgring? Lauda was back racing six weeks after he came out of coma. Or Mario Lemieux, who is heading the Pittsburgh Penguins to their firstly President’s Trophy in the very same season he finished his radioactivity treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, while he had a back injury so severe he could not put on his own skates and nearly stony-broke Wayne Gretzky’s scoring record while he was at it? How does it compare with Lester Piggott winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile at the age of 54, simply 10 eras 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 tribunal in Hamburg?

Injury and personal troubles 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 prevailed 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 practically died in a gondola disintegrate. Hogan was hit by an oncoming bus. He threw himself across his wife’s lap to protect her from potential impacts and, while she was uninjured, he suffered material break-dance pelvis, collarbone, ankle and ribs. They ameliorated again but he suffered 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.

Quick guide

Follow Guardian sport on social media

Twitter : follow us at @guardian_sport Facebook : like our football and sport pages Instagram : our favourite photos, films and fibs YouTube : subscribe to our football and sport channels

Photograph: Chesnot/ Getty Images Europe
Thank you for your feedback.

And hitherto, for all that, one can say this much: Woods’s story is unique in one important path, 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 form transgressed, 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, going off that 18 th light-green, Masters champion, with his family around him, having employ everything is back together again.

” You never dispense with ,” says Lumbers.” That’s a contributed. You always pushed. Merely giving up’s never in the equation .”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here