3,955 days. Just about 10 years and 10 months ago.
For me, I just remember being at home, wondering why two golfers are playing against each other on a Monday afternoon. It was the 2008 U.S. Open playoff featuring Rocco Mediate and Tiger Woods; the last time Woods won a major tournament. I knew from that moment watching Woods battle on one good leg and coming out on top that he was must-watch television, even if it meant me watching golf on weekends.
Not just I, but the entire country stopped whatever they did (or woke up) on April 14, to see if Tiger Woods could reclaim glory in The Masters. And that’s why his 15th major victory is unlike any comeback story in the history of sports.
For Tiger, the end of the 2008 U.S. Open was the start of his downfall not just on the course but off of it.
A series of injuries starting with a repair to his left knee, multiple surgeries to his back, an Achilles injury and a bulging disk in his neck forced Woods to be on and off the golf course from 2008 to 2017.
The public divorce of his former wife Elin Nordegren, which began the morning after Thanksgiving in 2009 when Woods was chased out of their mansion and crashed his SUV and a neighbor’s tree drew more bad publicity for the golfer. More details from the split emerged, which included a total of 12 women, from porn stars to models, coming out and exposing Woods for being unfaithful.
Finally, early on Memorial Day 2017, Woods was found by Florida police passed out behind the wheel, with tests showing he had Vicodin, Xanax, Dilaudid, Ambien and THC in his system. A mug shot which showed Woods completely intoxicated was almost the final chapter in Woods’ career.
Clearly, it has been an eventful 3,955 days. All hope seemed to be lost by the entire world. Sponsors and endorsements were being dropped. Woods name was tarnished.
A return to the golf course was really Woods’ only chance to save himself and his only hope to turn it all around was to just contend, not necessary win, but don’t be terrible. It wasn’t going to be easy and it wasn’t going to be quick. A total of 18 starts last year in the PGA Tour showed that he was close to being at full health.
We were all rooting for Woods and seeing him near the top of the leaderboard set the stage for a Sunday that we all were waiting for. His traditional red shirt on Sunday, the massive crowds following his every shot from hole-to-hole would make one think he never left. His first shot on the 16th hole was an indication that he was indeed back.
And yes, CBS went a bit over the top trying to make the public come to tears with the video of Woods hugging his father after his first Masters victory in 1997 and comparing it to his hug to his son Charlie. But it does show that he is back to being in the spotlight that is meant for him, contending at the highest level on the golf course, not in the tabloids or the police blotter.
At age 43 and his career back on track, we now look to see if he can pass Jack Nicklaus, who has 18 victories, for most major victories, a feat that most thought was impossible about two years ago.