Tiger Woods did not win The Masters this past weekend, and yet, he was the star of the tournament. Once again, he made a comeback that startled the world. After his terrible car crash on February 23, 2021, doctors doubted that Woods would ever play golf again. They considered amputation of his leg, and some doubted if he would even walk again. Fast forward 14 months and countless hours of therapy for Tiger, and he announces that he is going to play in The Masters. I have been to Augusta National, and it is a hilly golf course, 5 miles long, with lots of uneven lies and steps. It is a long walk for someone with two good legs, but walking it with an injured leg had to be grueling. If you watched the tournament, you saw Tiger limping a bit, and he said he would have lots of ice on his leg between rounds.
I think this comeback is similar to Ben Hogan's return to golf in 1949. Hogan spent 60 days in a hospital after a terrible car crash in February of 1949 in which it took an hour to extricate him from the car. He was hit head on by a 200.000 thousand pound bus. There were no airbags in cars in 1949, so his injuries were numerous. Doctors doubted that he would walk again, yet, a little more than a year later, he won the US Open at Merion in 1950.
Although Tiger did not have a fairy tale ending for the 2022 Masters, his participation in the tournament, and actually competing to make the cut, teaches golfers and others some important lessons. Despite his horrific injuries and intense pain, Tiger never gave up on himself. He visualized where he has been - Number 1 golfer in the world, winner of 15 major championships - and then he visualized where he would be again. The fact that he was able to recover and walk at Augusta after just 14 months is nothing short of a miracle. I like how Tiger beleives in himself, and when he competes, he is in the game to win, not just to play. Tiger allows the world to see him holding himself to high expectations, modeling that noble concept for everyone to learn and copy. I like that very much, and if I were still coaching golf, I would be using his story to inspire my players. Everyone can do better - if we just beleive in ourselves and hold ourselves to our own high expectations.
I am including a few links about Tiger's recovery, and about the story of Ben Hogan. Please click on the links if you are interested.
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