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Edmonds: Tiger gets second chance to continue building legacy

| Monday, April 15, 2019

Winning takes care of everything.

As golf legend Tiger Woods hugged his son and parents following his win at the Masters on Saturday, that cringe-inducing 2013 Nike advertisement immediately flashed through my mind. To what degree was that true, and how does the average sports fan come to understand Tiger’s legacy — a legacy he’s clearly still continuing to build?

In full disclosure, this was not an easy take for me. Perhaps due to either a generational divide or general disinterest in golf, I’ve resisted jumping on the Tiger comeback bandwagon for a long time. In many ways, I tried to avoid writing this column. However, as the top-trending story of the weekend and — on a larger scale — arguably one of the most drawn out stories in recent sports history, I was left no choice but to throw my hat in the ring. Of course, as someone who’s favorite movie is The Shawshank Redemption, the grasp Wood’s career has managed to have on the heartstrings of golf — and sports fans at large — naturally sparked my interest. Allow me to explain.

My first memory of Tiger was sitting in a family friend’s living room in Washington D.C. as he sunk a putt that forced a playoff in the 2008 U.S. Open. That June victory would go on to be the then-32-year-old’s last major victory. That is, until yesterday. However, a lot happened in that nearly 11-year gap as the California native fell so abruptly from grace as his personal and professional life became riddled with self-inflicted scandal after scandal.

More specifically, Woods made headlines in November of 2009 when a series of allegations of infidelity came out against him. While he released an apology statement following the initial allegations, they ultimately sparked the revelation of a seemingly endless number of other affairs. Less than a year later, Woods and his wife Elin Nordegren divorced. However, as the previous year would indicate, the troubles were not over for Woods. The second half of his career has been marked by major knee and back injuries, financial woes and countless times falling short of a comeback.

To be clear, much of this decade-long disgrace was self-inflicted — especially the marital woes. There’s no one to blame but Tiger himself. In many ways, the sheer magnitude of the scandal was the very thing holding me back from ever truly supporting a comeback. However, Sunday’s win required me to check my cynicism for a moment as I reflected on what about this victory inspired so many people.

For the same reason that Nike’s ad failed in 2013, Saturday’s win officially put Woods back on the map: timing. 2013 was too soon. He was still riding his playboy ways, spending lavishly and showing little remorse for his past. Six years later, Woods has eclipsed 43 and has unceasingly pursued his comeback.

If you’re like me, and find it difficult to fully embrace this return, fear not. You don’t have to love Tiger, but in some ways you do have to respect his ambition. He’s allowed the clock to do its work, showcasing his perseverance and — more importantly — humanity.

So no, winning doesn’t take care of everything. Timing — and a little luck — take care of a lot of things.

Here’s to a second chance, Tiger. Use it wisely.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


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