Tiger Woods Injured in Serious Car Accident

For Tiger Woods, it was a powerful comeback. After a again damage that had appeared destined to finish his profession, he received the Masters Tournament in 2019, an exciting return to type that captivated the nation.

But after a 12 months of matches and begins that yielded no main victories, he introduced final month that he had undergone one other spinal process that may hold him out of competitors till later this 12 months.

Then got here the single-vehicle accident on Tuesday in which his S.U.V. ran off the street and landed on a hillside close to Los Angeles, inflicting leg accidents that required Mr. Woods to bear hours of surgical procedure.

It was one other devastating episode for Mr. Woods — who burst onto the nationwide scene as a baby and is the best golfer of his era — and raises questions on his capability to make yet one more comeback.

In 2009, at the height of a career in which Mr. Woods was expected to demolish every record in his sport, news reports about serial marital infidelity cost him his marriage, and he was shunned by many in the golf community. In swift succession, his myriad corporate sponsors dropped him. The scandal caused him to take a lengthy hiatus from golf. When he returned to competition, he struggled to find his old form, a complication that coincided with the onset of his physical ailments.

On the same golf courses where he had long been greeted by wild cheering, his presence was instead met with an eerie quiet. As time passed, being snubbed was far from Mr. Woods’s only problem at tournaments. He was often viewed as a limping afterthought. A young breed of golfers now controlled the top of the leaderboard.

His downfall eventually had a defining act, a middle-of-the-night arrest in May 2017 that revealed an opioid addiction. Mr. Woods was taken into custody by the police after he was found alone and asleep in his car on the side of a road with the engine running.

Typical of his career arc, Mr. Woods’s resurrection ended up being as dramatic and attention grabbing.

At the 2019 Masters, golf’s most watched event, Mr. Woods was not one of the pretournament favorites to win, but he became a final-round contender. In the crucible of the event’s final holes, as his rivals withered under the pressure, Mr. Woods found the inner resolve that had been his trademark. He birdied four of the final five holes to claim his fifth Masters title. When his final putt dropped, he celebrated with a primal scream that seemed to be matched by the thousands of fans encircling the 18th green.

Just two years earlier, Mr. Woods had ranked as low as 1,119th in the world. His comeback, especially considering his travails off the course, may have been the greatest in sports history.

Leaving the green, Mr. Woods lifted his son, Charlie, and his daughter, Sam, into his arms — a gesture that was a near repeat of the embrace Mr. Woods’s father, Earl, had given his son after the 1997 Masters, Mr. Woods’s first major victory.

He continued to be competitive with his peers in 2019, winning one more event, but the pandemic-shortened 2020 golf season took place with Mr. Woods often absent. Other than a tie for ninth in mid-January, he did not finish higher than a tie for 37th and appeared in just 10 events.

Mr. Woods has not played competitively since December. In January, he underwent a procedure on his back called a microdiscectomy, which was performed to remove a pressurized disc fragment that was pinching a nerve. On Sunday, while acting as the host of the Genesis Invitational PGA Tour event in Southern California, Mr. Woods was interviewed during the broadcast of the tournament. He said he had begun practicing and appeared at ease, smiling and joking with CBS announcers about his progress from the recent operation. But he offered no timetable for his return to competitive golf.

The Masters, though, remained central on Mr. Woods’s calendar. Asked whether he would compete in the event in April, Mr. Woods replied: “God, I hope so. I’ve got to get there first.” He added that he was “feeling fine, a little bit stiff” and was awaiting another M.R.I. scan to evaluate his progress. In the meantime, he said, he had been “still doing the mundane stuff that you have to do for rehab, the little things before you can start gravitating toward something a little more.”

Mr. Woods conceded that surgeons may have only so many more ways to help him. “This is the only back I’ve got,” he said. “I don’t have much more wiggle room there.”

At the pandemic-delayed Masters in November, Mr. Woods tied for 38th place. In the wake of the final round of the event, he said of his physical infirmities: “No matter how hard I try, things just don’t work the way they used to. And no matter how much I push and ask of this body, it just doesn’t work at times.”

At the Rolling Hills Country Club near Los Angeles on Monday, pictures on social media showed Mr. Woods interacting with various celebrities, including the former N.B.A. player Dwyane Wade. During the function, Mr. Woods gave players golf tips and some instruction but was not swinging a golf club.

Douglas Morino, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Alan Blinder, Kevin Draper and Gillian R. Brassil contributed reporting.

Source link Nytimes.com

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