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Mr Tiger Woods: A tribute to grit and determination

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

American golfer Mr Tiger Woods has rightly earned glowing praise for his amazing victory in the Masters on Sunday.

Indeed, many of the world's great sports stars have commented on Mr Woods' fifth Masters victory. However, former United States President Barack Obama captured the achievement best in his congratulatory tweet, saying: “To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit, and determination.”

On Monday, news came that Mr Woods has continued his rise up the world rankings as he officially returned to the top 10 for the first time since 2014.

There is no challenging the view that what Mr Woods did at Augusta is one of the greatest comeback stories in sport.

This was his first major victory in 11 years, having suffered personal turmoil and injuries that not only threatened his career but his prospects of living an ordinary life.

We recall the world watching in awe as he won his first Masters title in 1997, at the time transforming golf and expanding its reach beyond the achievements of famous players before him.

When he was just 25 years old, Mr Woods became the first man to hold the US Open, British Open, PGA Championship and Masters titles at the same time.

In 2002 he matched Messrs Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus by winning back-to-back Masters.

In probably one of his greatest displays of steely resolve, Mr Woods, grimacing in pain throughout the 2008 US Open, beat Mr Rocco Mediate in a play-off to take his 14th major title.

However, the following year Mr Woods' fortunes took a steep nosedive after a car accident outside his home in Florida unearthed a series of infidelities that not only destroyed his marriage but saw sponsors, except for Nike, dropping him like a hot potato.

Although he returned to the game in 2010, within four years back trouble consigned him to the sidelines for long periods. In fact, an Agence France Presse story reported that when he was asked if he ever wondered whether he would win another major, Mr Woods replied: “I had serious doubts after what transpired a couple of years ago. I could barely walk. I couldn't sit. Couldn't lay down. I really couldn't do much of anything.”

In April of 2017 he underwent a spinal fusion operation but a month later made headlines on being arrested after falling asleep while driving under the influence of several drugs he took to combat pain.

We don't get the impression that Mr Woods missed the game terribly during his long lay-off because he is reported as saying that the break gave him time to participate in his children's lives in a way that he couldn't have for a number of years.

That, no doubt, steadied him as a father and human being and most likely contributed to the mettle he displayed when he returned to the PGA Tour last year and in the just-concluded Masters.

Mr Woods' achievement is more than a sporting success. It is an example to us all that the most difficult circumstances can be overcome with a fixity of purpose, a desire to succeed, and a steady focus on the value of family.

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