Tiger Woods, who became his own cautionary tale, made his redemptive comeback in 2019 when he won the Masters. It had been 3,950 days since his last major win. It was probably the best comeback story in sports, and one the nation universally cheered. Sadly, his recent crash into a tree doing 87 mph on a curvy (45 mph) California road has placed his future playing days in doubt.
It has been a tough decade for Tiger. You will remember that his Swedish wife, Elin, divorced him, citing irreconcilable pancake waitresses. She chased him out of their driveway with a 9-iron (she felt an 8-iron was too much club). Tiger fled out of his driveway in his car and hit a tree; seven more bimbos fell out.
Tiger had so many affairs that he was made an honorary Kennedy. He and Donald Trump became friends, which prompted the media to start going after Tiger. He and The Donald were close spiritually, drawn together by their love for the Nine Commandments.
Then Tiger hurt his back (perhaps by picking up too many waitresses). He had his back fused and his knee redone. He went to sex rehab, drug rehab and maybe drunk camp. He’s been to sex rehab in Mississippi so many times the cafeteria named a sandwich after him.
When he staged his first comeback, he played terribly. Harrison Ford hit more fairways with his plane than Tiger did during that year. Adolf Hitler spent less time in a bunker in 1945 than Tiger did in 2016-18. But he got his life in order, or so it seemed, and then came the dramatic Masters win. America cheered.
Will Tiger ever play again? Why wouldn’t Tiger want to return to playing on the PGA Tour? It’s a great life: You make the money of a Republican and have as much sex as a Democrat. But this latest crash injury is devastating. We are all pulling for Tiger.
Some say the California authorities let Tiger off easy for the car crash -- no breathalyzer, etc. Charges never materialized because he said he was just swerving to miss a tree. It turned out the “tree” was the air freshener hanging on his rear-view mirror, but the excuse held up in star-centric LA.
They have dangerous drivers out there, but celebs are treated well. It is the life they have chosen and not for us to question. O.J. got away with murder in L.A., but he stole a few bobblehead dolls in Las Vegas and went to prison.
Maybe Hollywood will pitch a series featuring the white Bronco OJ escaped in and the SUV Tiger wrecked. Perhaps it will be called “Law and Order SUV.”
Will Tiger ever command the moral high ground enough to endorse past sponsors who dropped him, like Buick or AT&T? Most of his sponsors fled after his sexploits became public. AT&T dropped him as quickly as one of their cellphone calls from his $15 million contract - still the most expensive “roaming” charges ever assessed on anyone. The free markets impose more punitive measures than the California judicial system.
Tiger handled it all with class. He didn’t go crying to Oprah, Gayle King, Robin Roberts or Dr. Phil. We never knew the severity of his back injury; he handled maladies in isolation, like a man. There are no winners when our sports heroes whimper. One could argue that liberal ESPN “woke” overlords have wussified sports.
In the last few years during his comeback, Tiger was by all accounts more approachable, kind and appreciative: in short, likable. In his previous 80 tour wins, he was perfunctory, self-centered and cold. The Masters victory showed him emotional and happy. We have a new Tiger. Yes, he is like all of us, flawed and complex, but striving for redemption.
Supposedly “racist” white America cheered Tiger on that Sunday, and he has the support of the Augusta golfing community in his comeback. Augusta even installed his own water fountain for him.
Every time he appears, golf crowds love him. We have not heard a crowd scream that loudly for a womanizing billionaire golfer... well, since the last Trump rally.
Will Tiger ever win again? He might. With Stacey Abrams in charge of counting votes the way she does, Tiger still has a chance to win the Masters since it is in Georgia.
Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author, and TV/radio commentator; you can reach him at Ron@RonaldHart.com or Twitter @RonaldHart.