Tiger Woods is quite a famous personality. He is widely known for his amazing achievements in golf. From the early moments of his professional success, his life, both professional and private has come under scrutiny. As a result of this, he became infamous for his marital infidelity.
After his personal scandals were publicized, Woods took a break from golf. Now that he is back on tour, the question on everyone’s mind is, “Will he be different?” And is he capable of a successful comeback?
In order to answer these questions, it is important to picture how much talent and hard work Woods had to have had in order to burst into the top of the sporting world. Afterward, we will understand what caused him to face his troubles.
From a young age, Tiger Woods showed that he had the potential to become a great golfer.
Woods was born in 1975. He was destined to do one thing: play golf. He was exposed to golf right from his early life. His training began more or less from day one. His parents ensured that nothing would stand in the way of his success.
He was able to swing a golf club gracefully at two. This he learned just from simply observing his father, Earl Woods. Surely, his father contributed greatly to his future success. He basically trained him and sparked interest on him for golf before he could even understand it.
Neuroscientists have shown that repeated exposure to live demonstrations can have a big impact on the development of a child. By the age of one, Tiger had already spent 100-200 hours observing his father’s technique. He was able to swing at a ball in their garage at 11 months using the tiny golf club that his father had fashioned for him.
He found himself spending two hours a day at the driving range when he was only two. In fact, during this time, his dad contacted reporter Jim Hill from a local news station to come and watch his son make a swing. Jim Hill was actually quite impressed by his skill. He realized there was something special about the two-year-old.
In fact, he decided to put Tiger on his TV program. Despite being quiet and shy about the attention, Tiger actually impressed the audience. During this time, Hill made a prediction that Tiger was going to be to golf what Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert are to tennis.
The road to success is long and hard, but it can be even tougher with overbearing, relentless parents set on seeing their child reach the top. In the coming chapter, we’ll see how Earl Woods was exactly that kind of parent.
Tiger’s father put immense pressure on him to propel him towards success in golf.
It is clear that Woods’ father had big expectations for him. He fearlessly stated his plans for him. He also employed many crude methods in order to ensure his some becomes successful.
When he was in school, Tiger was not allowed to participate in team activities. This is because golf is a solitary sport rather than a team sport. Due to this, Tiger spent a huge portion of his childhood and teenage years isolated from other children. Others were into the team sports either football or baseball.
For a period in his life, his only friends were his parents and his instructors. He was trained by some of the best instructors in America. No doubt, they all agreed to train him because they saw impressive talent in him.
In addition to this, he had to put up with some sort of psychological warfare with his father. He was regularly subjected to some military psychological tests from as early as eleven. In these tests, Earl would be really harsh to his son. He would tell him that he was useless. He would swear at him. He would even call him the N-word. The objective of these extreme tests was to ensure that he grows up mentally tough enough such that he will be able to put up with any intimidation from other competitors.
Racial bias has been rampant through the history of golf. Until 1961, the PGA, which was organized professional golf tournaments in America, was operational. Moreover, up until 1990, the Augusta Country Club, which hosts one of golf’s four biggest tournaments, the annual Masters Tournament, did not allow black membership.
From this, it is easy to understand why Earl Woods was trying to inure his son to racism, both overt and covert. In addition to this, Earl wished to make his son a symbol of racial integration. By achieving success in a sport that was dominated by white people, Earl intended for his son to break down racial barriers that had withstood decades of civil-rights activism.
In fact, Earl would claim that Tiger was going to make an impact even bigger and profound than that of Mohammed Ali, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela.
Understandably, Tiger faced a huge burden of expectations.
It became clear that he was going to be successful in golf by the time of college.
Tiger participated in amateur tournaments throughout his school years, In each tournament, his skills improved and so did the public recognition of his talent. In fact, the question wasn’t if he would go pro, but when.
At 16, he played his first PGA competition. In this, he was the youngest player to ever take part in the event. Shortly after before attending Stanford University on a golf scholarship, at the age 18, he won his first US Amateur Open.
In this success, he was not only the youngest golfer to win the US American Open but also the first African-American to achieve this feat. This success proved that his father’s immense expectations for him were not entirely unfounded. Actually, Earl grew even brasher. He would continue to push his son. He compared him to the boxer, Joe Lewis, even though Tiger had no interest in fulfilling this role as a hopeful beacon for black America.
However, Tiger was not focused on becoming some kind of a beacon for black America as his father intended. Instead, he was just interested in his own personal success. To win the open and then to pursue a major in economics at Stanford.
Two years into college, Tiger decided to go pro. This coincided with the time when he won his third US Amateur Open. Even though his father always insisted that Tiger had the freedom to choose whatever he wanted to, there was always some sort of pressure for him to quit school and earn money since his parents could not fund his touring schedule.
In 1996 when he turned pro, he received a five-year endorsement deal worth $40 million from Nike and one worth $20 million from Titleist. Over a single night, his value increased by $60 million. This is a remarkable success in the world of sports. This is because it happened even before he had played his first round of professional golf. No other athlete had become as rich in such a short period of time.
His professional prowess enhanced his troubling private behavior.
He was becoming a major phenomenon and at a really fast rate. He entered his first Masters Tournament at 21 and won it. Surely he was unstoppable.
All this success, however, came at a personal cost.
The more successful he became, the more his fan base grew. He became a formidable force in the world of golf. In fact, he achieved a career grand slam by the age of 24. He won the four major major international tournaments, three of them in 2000, and the Masters in 2001.
He was always hungry for more success. Even after becoming one of the top golf players in the world, he continued to show great determination in practice. In fact, he once asked his swing coach to remodel his swing.
Due to his sheer determination and focus, his opponents were often intimidated by him. His father had surely made him mentally powerful through his early childhood mental training. But this came at a cost in his private life.
His achievements in golf earned him a lot of money. He was popular in many circles. Such circles would include many beautiful women. The problem is that he would pursue these women despite having a wife and kids.
Tiger Woods married Elin Nordegren in 2004 and started what seemed to have been a loving and wholesome family. The trouble was that behind closed doors, he would have sexual rendezvous with other women. He would do this in hotels, apartments and sometimes even at his own house.
This attitude came because he had grown to think that he was above the rules. The success he had had in golf, coupled with the inadequate intimacy he had had in his early years contributed to his attitude.
Even though this attitude did not affect his performance in golf, it had a great impact on his own private life.
Following a car crash and the revelation of his adultery in 2009, things started to fall apart.
From his encounters, it had seemed to everyone for a long time that he was invincible. This changed over a single night. In 2009, the National Enquirer published a story about Tiger’s secret relationship with a New York nightclub manager and hostess, Rachel Uchitel.
The story about his affair with her leaked. Reporters became increasingly intrusive in the matter. They followed them until they caught the two together. Tiger initially denied the accusation of infidelity. In fact, he tried to organize a phone call between Uchitel and his wife in order to prove that nothing was going on between them.
It was on that fateful Thanksgiving eve that matters took an entirely different turn. Tiger had taken an Ambien pill and fallen asleep. It was during this time that his wife went through his phone only to discover that he had sent a message to an unknown number declaring his love. After calling this number, she found that it had been Uchitel all along.
This obviously caused a panic for his wife. She began to break down. In this time, Tiger woke up, presumably panicked, confused and hazy from the sleeping pills that he had previously taken. In this state, he went to his car and began to drive off. He ended up crashing into the neighbor’s driveway.
The news of his spectacular car crash caused the media outlets across the globe to be alerted to his scandal. At this point, he felt he had to explain himself out of the situation that he had found himself. He owned up to his involvement in the affair/ Not long after that, more women with whom he had had an affair with began to reveal their involvement with him. This was completely embarrassing for him. It took an emotional toll on him. He decided to take a break from golf shortly afterward.
This situation was so widely covered that he was featured on the cover of the New York Post for 21 consecutive days. Only the 9/11 terrorist attack had had such wide coverage before. As if this was not enough, he ended up losing his endorsement deals with Accenture and AT&T.
This situation was a clear wake-up call for him. He needed to confront his bad behavior one way or the other.
Tiger took underwent sex therapy to help with his addiction as well as three spinal surgeries.
As a corrective measure, Tiger sought treatment for sex addiction at Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, in Mississippi at the end of the year.
Families that enforce many rules yet lack tenderness tend to bring children who become sex addicts. In such families, mistakes are punishable. As a result, children devise ways to avoid such situations. They become isolated and secretive as a result. The addiction later in life is a means to find comfort, intimacy or to escape. It is therefore not such a big surprise that Tiger ended up as this way.
In addition to this, children to take up addictive tendencies from their parents. In Tiger’s case, his father, Earl, was a smoker, a drinker, and a womanizer. It is no wonder that he ended up with similar addictions.
After his divorce in August 2010, Tiger continued to play golf, but it was not the same.
His self-centered nature made his relationship with his coach, Hank Haney destroyed. Rather than listening to his coach’s concerns, he kept talking about his own problems instead. This dismissive attitude led to him parting ways with his coach who had served him for six years prior to that.
Moreover, after the scandals, his game itself suffered. He was playing worse than before. In addition to this, his health was compromised due to intense weight lifting. This is something that golfers ordinarily try to avoid because it can affect their swing. The fact that he had changed his swing coach also contributed to his struggles with health.
As a result, he underwent surgery to remove part of a herniated lumbar disc that was lodged in a nerve root in 2014. He had two more surgeries after this in the following year as well.
He tried to return to golf after his first two surgeries, but, in 2015, he was forced to take another break from professional golf to recover.
A reformed Tiger is making a return to golf and showing signs of personal growth.
Tiger is now entering new stages in both his private and professional lives. After all that has happened, this is something that most would find to be a huge challenge.
He began his comeback to golf in November 2017. Only a few months earlier, he had been caught driving under the influence of some potentially fatal painkillers. Contrary to what he did with the infidelity case, instead of denying the charges, he completely owned up and took responsibility. Even more, he sought professional help immediately.
He tied in ninth place out of eighteen golfers in his first competitive game since his break. This is actually not a bad result for someone who has had four surgeries and a total change in his private life. Since then, he finished his first PGA Tour event in almost three years and plans to play a full season in 2018.
His personality has also improved. He used to be known for his cold demeanor. He has now become more friendly and warm.
He had a reputation of avoiding fans, other celebrities, and avoiding events that affect him. Basically, if he did not think that something would benefit him, he would not give it his attention.
He has become a lot more engaged with his fans. One example of his recent unprecedented acts of public kindness was highlighted when one of his fans mentioned that he had acknowledged a marine officer at a golf event in January 2018. This in stark contrast with his earlier attitude when he paid attention only to his game.
In addition to this, he now spends more time with his children and seems to have been very focused on fulfilling his role as a loving father and a key role model in the life of his children. At this moment, his future seems to look bright once again. This is a testament to his strength and undeniable talent.
Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict, Armen Keteyian Book Review
Tiger Woods is one of the world’s greatest athletes. From a very young age, he was primed to be a successful golfer by his parents. The methods of priming him may have contributed to his own turbulent scandalous behavior at the same time. Despite the upsets he has had, he has proven to be unshakable in his drive to succeed no matter what. He is now making a comeback to professional golf and is also dedicating himself to his children.