From Kohei Uchimura in Gymnastics, to Roger Federer in Tennis, to Manny Pacquiao in Boxing to Michael Jordan in Basketball, to Oscar Pistorius in Track and field, to Lionel Messi in Soccer, to Michael Phelps in Swimming, and finally to Usain Bolt in Track and field; a quick look at these outstanding athletes shows that they are humans after all, no matter how excellent they may be in their various sports, they have a life outside being celebrities. But their celebrity status has a ripple effect on their personal lives and its opening them up.
Still fresh in our memory is how the personal life of Tiger Woods became a public story making the trends. Born to an African-American Army officer father and a Thai mother on December 30th, 1975 in Cypress, California, Tiger Woods grew up practicing only one game, golf. His zeal for the game at an early age and with his dad as his mentor, he seemed destined for greatness and success in the game. He distinguished himself as an amateur golfer and he notched up several amateur US golf titles before playing in his first major tournament at the 1995 Masters.
Woods became a professional golf player in 1996 at the age of 21. The following year 1997 in Augusta, he was under the global beam light for the first time as he won his first major title as a pro and he became the youngest winner ever of the Masters. Subsequently, in June of the same year, he became world number one golfer for the first time and even built on his string of gradual successes at the US PGA Championship in 1999 as he won his second major title. This marks the beginning of his reign as the number one golfer and it stretched for 264 weeks until it came to a temporal end in September 2004.
In an astonishing and most anticipated way in 2005, Woods bounced back to what he knows how to do best as he recaptured his world number one ranking position but soon enough, he was forced to take a break from the game for eight months due to a broken leg - Woods came back with one of his rebounds again at the 2008 US Open when he pulled off another major trophy, making it his 14th major title of his career.
News, rumors and classified details about Woods private life started filtering over various media in November 2009; it was at that point that he crashed his car into a tree. The scandals emerged and spread like wild fire, numerous ladies came out and claimed that Woods had sexual relations with them at a point or the other and all these escapades happened while he was still married to his wife. Woods excused himself away from golf at that instance when barrage of allegations battered his identity and iconic image but he made a publicized apology for his inadequacies in February 2010, and also returned to competitive game when he competed at the US Masters in April of that same year.
His long absence from the game coupled with injuries and divorce settlements dealt a massive blow on his form and his rankings, his career fell to a dismal 58th position in the rankings but with a new trainer and coach added with a new romance, he was able to make his gradual comeback into the swinging game.
He was able to clinch his first title after his comeback at an invitational tournament in March 2012 and that helped him into the world’s top 10 ranking. Woods maintained his early-season wins tempo at the Doral and Torrey Pines tourney when he won the 77th PGA Tour title.
The icing on the cake was when he took back the reins as the world’s number one golfer for the 11th time in his career.
As magnificent as his comeback may be, the persecutions he suffered during his trial times are agonizing and traumatic. Many sport men and women have gone down the drain with their promising career due to one scandal or another and the world was deprived of the talent and artistic prowess of such people. Separating the individual away from the sport is the key learning here.
Woods have never cheated in the sport and have been a complete all-round athlete on the golf course. He hasn’t been convicted by any dope panel. He has never cheated the fans, he only cheated his wife.
With new romance, passion, growing confidence and supportive fans who can establish a distinct division by separating the man away from the sport, golf is going to witness the best of Woods better than before. This time around, the Tiger is definitely out of the Woods.
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