Editorial- Don’t call it a comeback: Tiger’s been here

Editorial- Don’t call it a comeback: Tiger’s been here
September 27
02:00 2018

By Frederick Adams II

There is something magical about seeing Tiger Woods on a Sunday afternoon, during the last round of a golf tournament, wearing his trademark red polo. 

It was magical in 1997 watching him dominate the Masters Tournament.  Then, a few years ago, I saw him play in person, and the magic still existed.  Sharing that moment with my son made it even more memorable. 

“This is like seeing Michael Jordan in person,” I told him.  He was so young at that time, he may not have been able to fully grasp the magnitude of the moment, but he still remembers it.  Unfortunately, Tiger didn’t win that day, but his loss did nothing to detract from the magical moment that we experienced.  As he casually strolled down the 18th fairway, the crowds cheered and roared behind him.  Even in defeat, the magic still existed.

Driving home that night, I wondered if Tiger would ever win another tournament.  This past Sunday, I received my answer when he won the Tour Championship golf tournament – his first victory in almost 1,900 days. 

Let that sink in for a moment.  Tiger Woods, the most dominant golfer of the last 20 years, had not won a tournament since 2013 and had gradually become an afterthought and a prima facie example of how swiftly and sharply the heralded mighty can stumble. 

Tiger was struggling to hit fairways.  He could no longer make those clutch putts that he used to sink with such regularity.  His golf game was a complete mess, and so was his life.

Not too long ago, the mere sight of Tiger’s red polo, accompanied by his emphatic fist pumps, was so intimidating that the greatest golfers in the world would routinely succumb to the pressure of being on the same course with him.  However, those times had vanished.  Those days were gone. 

A nasty divorce, the revelation of multiple extramarital affairs, and failing health had seemingly destroyed his armor of invincibility.  Then came the pain associated with four surgeries, the subsequent substance abuse, and the final blow – his criminal charge of Driving While Impaired.    

On the golf course, he was equally bad.  Players, who once idolized Tiger, had surpassed him, and the star that once shined so brightly and immaculately was on the brink of burning out.  Tiger had become a cautionary tale, and an example of precisely how fleeting success can be.   I wasn’t convinced that we would ever see Tiger Woods play again, and personally all I wanted was to see him put his life back together.  Hopefully, his victory this past Sunday is a step in the right direction to rebuild his career and to continue rebuilding his life. 

Beyond the green grass of the courses where he plays, Tiger is unquestionably flawed, but his performance this past Sunday is a lesson for us all.  Failure is not always fatal, and sometimes, failure is the catalyst that is necessary to propel us to heights that once seemed unattainable. 

That’s why I was rooting so hard for Tiger.  He may not ever win again, and I’m OK if he doesn’t.  However, he made it back Sunday by doing the one thing that no one believed he could do.  He won.

So don’t call it a comeback.  Tiger’s been here for years.   

Frederick Adams is an attorney who lives and works in Winston-Salem. 

In addition to practicing law, he also serves as an adjunct professor at Winston-Salem State University.

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