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Tiger’s resurrection sports story of the year

By Al s. Mendoza

 

TIGER Woods is a winner again.

And you know what that means?

It will signal the rebirth of golf.

It will trigger the return of Tigermania, that global euphoria celebrating the golf exploits of Woods for nearly two decades.

That’s just two of the impact moments following Woods’ victory in the Tour Championship on Monday.

Before Woods became a winner again, golf was in utter decline.

Interest in the game nosedived frighteningly that the sport itself was virtually headed to extinction.

Listen to Danny “Sir John” Isla from Auckland, New Zealand:  “At the height of Tiger Woods’ domination of the game, more than 1,000 golf courses were built worldwide.  During his slump, more than 600 courses closed.”

Woods’ losing streak lasted more than five years.

A big casualty were the networks, which lost massive sponsorships when  covering golf tournaments minus Woods.  Some even went bankrupt.

When Woods dropped his last putt to win the Tour Championship by two strokes at East Lake in Atlanta, Georgia (I was there in 1991, ahem!), it meant the world to them.

“Happy days are here again,” said one TV executive.

Woods’ slump lasted exactly 1,876 days, his victory in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2013 being his last before Sunday’s resurrection (US time).

What caused his collapse again?

First, his serial infidelities led to a divorce worth $100 million in alimonies to his blonde Swedish wife.

Mentally, emotionally, disturbed, his game disintegrated—totally.

Second, he suffered knee problems that led to surgeries.

And as if that was not enough, he absorbed one back surgery after another.

So debilitating were his back problems that he needed four operations—the fourth one necessitating a highly delicate fusion procedure.

“I couldn’t sit properly, I couldn’t lie down properly, I couldn’t move without feeling so much pain,” he said.

He said never mind if he couldn’t play golf again.

“I just want to live pain-free again,” he said.

One early dawn last year, police found him slumped behind the wheel of his car that was improperly, dangerously, parked on a freeway in Jupiter, Florida. He was asleep, his car’s engine still running.

Initially, they thought he was into drugs or DUI (driving under intoxication).  Luckily not.  He had taken massive pain-killing medicines, causing him to doze off.

That’s because a month before that, on April 19, 2017 (my birthday, hehe), he had his fourth surgery, this time to fuse his lower back.

After getting jailed briefly, he entered a guilty plea, and got off the hook.

Seven months later, on December 3, he is back competing at the Hero World Challenge. He finished 10 shots behind the winner.

He felt good.

After six more tournaments, he finally broke his five-year losing streak, winning the Tour Championship on Sept. 23 for his 80th PGA Tour win—just two short of the all-time best of 82 by Sam Snead.

And with that slump-ending win, the golf world is back on its feet.

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