Mark David Magat/The Skyline View
Everyone loves a comeback, and Tiger Woods’ recent win at the FedEx Cup marked his first individual win in five PGA seasons; this could start one of the best career turnarounds in sports history.
The 42-year-old professional golfer hit rock bottom in November of 2009 when his long-term love affair with Rachel Uchitel was exposed. The number of publicly-known mistresses was up to 14 by early December of that same year.
Woods took a break from golf after the scandal broke and he subsequently hurt his neck in a car accident. However, he was able to return in time for the Masters Tournament and finished in a tie for fourth place. Four months later, his ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, divorced him in August of 2010.
The next season, Woods had the worst performance of his career, with only two top 10 finishes in nine events and no tournament wins. With the weight of the scandal weighing heavy on his performance, Woods continued to struggle.
In May of 2011 Woods withdrew from the Players Championship and missed the next two months due to a MCL and achilles sprain in his left leg. This initiated an ominous trend of serious injuries and operations that put a jarring halt on any comeback attempts.
Woods suffered over a dozen injuries between 2012 and 2017 and underwent four back surgeries. During this time Woods was uncertain if he would ever be healthy enough to make a return to professional golf.
Woods was undoubtedly the best golfer in the world before his numerous affairs and injuries began deteriorating his success. Many professional athletes are unable to bounce back from such dramatic and career-damaging decisions piled on top of personal health issues.
From the end of 2015 into 2016 Woods took a 16 month break from Golf due to his third back surgery. He made his return at the Hero World Challenge where he finished 15th and last amongst American competitors.
Woods had to go under the knife again, in April of 2017 to alleviate pain in his lower back and leg. This is the most recent of his four back surgeries and was labeled as a success according to PGA.com.
Woods, once again, was able to persevere.
After another 9 month absence from golf and with a new bolstered base of skeptical viewers, Woods made another return at the Hero World Challenge in December of 2017. He performed much better this time around: he finished in a tie for 9th place with an overall score of -8.
Woods had some momentum coming into the new year. He had two top ten finishes in the first half of 2018 before he was cut from the U.S. Open in June. But this fueled Woods to finish top ten in five of the eight remaining tournaments including one tournament win.
Woods’ Tour Championship win on Sept. 23 was a sight many golf fans thought they would never see again. After a messy affair scandal, divorce and grueling battle with injuries, Woods, once again has set his sights on a 15th major tournament win. This is a feat he has not accomplished since 2005.