Once upon a time golf was dominated by one man. Records were broken seemingly constantly, and he was surely destine to be the best who ever lived. Tiger Woods was the pinnacle not just of golf but sport in general. Undoubtedly one of the most recognisable and successful sports personalities of his generation. He was a superstar to golf, a hero to many and to everyone, he looked untouchable.
Then almost overnight a legend was brought to his knees. Tiger Woods’ demise sprang to the world stage on November the 27th 2009 when the police were called at his house due to ‘a disturbance’. The worlds media sensed a massive story and they were sure going to get one.
It turned out that a media outlet had found out about Tiger Woods private life, but his representatives had the story taken out of the public eye. A deal was struck that hid the story, but his immense power and stature could not keep the truth down indefinitely. For a long time Tiger Woods stalled and tried to keep his reputation intact after the ‘disturbance’ but there was no escape from the rumors. Eventually, in mid December, Woods admitted to cheating on his wife at the time Elin Nordegren. The floodgates opened and an enormous amount of affairs with different woman came to the front and back pages of newspapers around the world. All led to one of the best sportsmen of all time, leaving the game of golf ‘indefinitely’.
This obviously had a huge impact on his golf game but it has not just been his much publicized public demise which has led to his fall from the top of golf. Tiger Woods has had a truly biblical amount of injuries, which has kept him from reaching his full competitive potential.The image from the Independent above, highlights the scale of the trauma Woods’ body has been through. The left side and his back in particular, have been put under incredible stress throughout his golf career. Compared to other sports, injuries such as these might not be so surprising. In golf however, it is almost unheard of. Many reasons have been cited as of the cause of the quantity and severity of Tiger’s injuries, one of these being his physical presence and stature. Tiger Woods along with Gary Player gave the image of an athlete to golf. His time in the gym and commitment to fitness, rather than just practicing golf, giving him an extra edge over the competition. This benefited the game as a whole massively also as golfers are now seen as athletes with a need for good physical fitness. In recent times however, it has been linked to Woods’ downfall. Numerous hours in the weights room has resulted in his size and weight increasing hugely which may have added distance, but also may have added pressure to the weaker areas of his body and as a result, his injury list has lengthened.
Also, another factor could have been that Woods has not left enough recovery time over his injuries. The former no.1 in the world has often played whilst being injured, sometimes extremely successfully. A perfect example of this was his win in the 2008 US Open where Kenny Perry said that Tiger had ‘beat everyone on one leg’. However in the long term, examples such as this have hampered his recovery and as a result the American spent much of 2015 on the sidelines and is set to do the same in 2016. Woods, in September, had another operation on his back and stated he would be back in 2016 but has so far given no indication as to when.
There is much talk and anticipation about Tiger Woods’ return to Golf. The man is pure box office and the ‘Tiger effect’ can be seen clearly throughout his professional career. The ‘Tiger Effect’ is the massive rise in viewing numbers when Woods is competing in an event, especially if he is near the top of the leaderboard. CBS saw a 48% rise in viewing figures from The Masters in 2015, compared to the previous year where Woods did not participate. One thing is for sure, the game of golf misses Tiger Woods and the quicker he is back, the better.
14 majors. You cannot win consistently at such a high level without being defined as a legend. Work rate, talent and the winners mentality, Woods had it all and looked sure to be the worlds most successful golfer. However, injuries and revelations about his private life have stopped the relentless winning streak in it’s tracks, and it now looks unlikely that he will be able to beat the top players for a major again. He was within touching distance of Jack Nicklaus’ 18 majors but these factors have damaged his career significantly. A vast amount of golf fans, myself included, would love to see Woods back to his best but this may just be too far out of reach.
What do you think of Tiger Woods’ fall from the top of golf? Do you think he will win another major? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and thank you for reading!