by Matt Topolski IG @TopolskiOfficial
From one legend to another. As Cash once said:
There’s a man goin’ ’round takin’ names…
You can’t write stories like this, only sports can. In his red on Sunday, a drought of over a decade has come to an end and one of the most recognizable and transformational athletes in history has taken his place at the top once again. Tiger Woods has won his 15th Major and fifth Masters tournament. On a day in which Woods began the final round two strokes behind Francesco Molinari.
As the round unfolded, more specifically on the back 9, Woods began establishing himself among the field in vintage Tiger fashion. The 43 year old birdied the 13th, 15th and 16th holes while the field around him began to collapse at the wake of his return. Most thought Woods would never play the game of golf again professionally. His list of injuries have been well documented since 2007.
August 2007: Ruptures the ACL in his left knee while running on a golf course after the British Open.
April 15, 2008: Two days after the Masters, has arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to repair cartilage damage.
May 2008: Advised weeks before the U.S. Open that he has two stress fractures of the left tibia and should rest for six weeks, the first three weeks on crutches.
June 24, 2008: Eight days after winning the U.S. Open, has surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee by using a tendon from his right thigh.
December 2008: Injured his Achilles tendon in his right leg as he was running while preparing to return to golf.
Nov. 27, 2009: Hospitalized overnight with a sore neck and a cut lip that required five stitches when the SUV he was driving ran over a fire hydrant and into a tree.
May 9, 2010: Withdrew from the final round of The Players Championship, citing a bulging disk.
April 10, 2011: Injures his left Achilles tendon hitting from an awkward stance below Eisenhower’s Tree on the 17th at Augusta National.
May 12, 2011: Withdraws from The Players Championship after a 42 on the front nine. Diagnosed with an MCL sprain in his left knee and in his left Achilles tendon.
March 11, 2012: Feels tightness in his left Achilles tendon and withdraws after 11 holes of the final round in the Cadillac Championship at Doral.
Aug. 24, 2012: Moves stiffly during the second round of The Barclays and later says he felt pain in his lower back, which he attributed to a soft mattress in his hotel room.
June 13, 2013: Is seen shaking his left arm during the opening round of the U.S. Open. He later says it’s a left elbow strain that he injured while winning The Players Championship a month earlier.
Aug. 11, 2013: Said he felt tightness in his back during the final round of the PGA Championship.
Aug. 21, 2013: Two weeks after the PGA Championship, he only chips and putts on the back nine of the pro-am at The Barclays, complaining of a stiff neck and back that he attributed to a soft bed in the hotel. By Sunday at The Barclays, he dropped to his knees after one shot because of back spasms.
March 2, 2014: Withdraws after 13 holes of the final round at The Honda Classic because of lower back pain and spams, describing it as similar to what he felt at The Barclays.
March 9, 2014: Plays the final 12 holes with pain in his lower back, saying it began to flare up after hitting out of the bunker from an awkward lie in the Cadillac Championship at Doral. He shoots 78, the highest score of his career in a final round.
March 19, 2014: Withdraws from the Arnold Palmer Invitational because of the persistent pain in his back. He was the two-time defending champion.
March 31, 2014: Has surgery in Utah for a pinched nerve.
April 1, 2014: Announced he will miss the Masters and not return to golf until the summer.
Sept. 18, 2015: Underwent a second micro-discectomy surgery two days earlier to remove a disc fragment that was pinching his nerve.
October 2015: Woods has a procedure to “relieve discomfort” in his back and sets no timetable for his return to the PGA Tour.
April 20, 2017: Woods undergoes a fourth back surgery. The spinal fusion, labeled “a success” was to alleviate pain he had been experiencing in his back and leg.
After a series of personal issues, a decade of injuries, back fusion surgery and the prospect of never playing the game again – Woods’ return to glory is a Cinderella story not usually reserved for a man with 14 majors already in his pocket, but in this case its a privilege earned.
Woods did it his way and the game of Golf is better for it. The Goat has Returned and so has that iconic roar the he inspired in galleries throughout the country. Its easily one of the greatest comeback from any American sportsman in history. 15 major championships, but why stop here?