Out of the Woods

This past weekend, golf’s poster child player for the last 20 years, Tiger Woods, made his debut after recovering from a back injury that took him out of commission for four months. Woods made it clear that since he was two years old, that he would be the most iconic golfer in the world, and it was his mission to change the game forever. Appearing on the Mike Douglas show at age two, shooting 48 on nine holes at age three, and winning five international world championships before he turned 15 years old, the golfing world always knew that Woods was on his way to greatness. Before Woods’ dominance of the professional game in the late 90s’ and early 2000s’, Woods even won three US Junior Amateur Championships in a row, a feat that had never been seen in the sport.

From his first major win at The Masters in 1997 to his fourteenth at the US Open in 2008, Tiger put his print on the game in a way that had arguably never been seen before to his level. Being the first billion dollar sportsman to ever live, there was a spotlight on him that everyone thought only a descendant from the gods could handle. We quickly learned that Woods was human just like the rest of us. On Thanksgiving in 2009, Woods’ wife Elin Nordegren chased him out of his house after learning that Woods had been unfaithful with what ended up being 120 women. His game has never fully recovered since this scandal and he has failed to win on the major championship stage since his fourteenth win in 2008.

On Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Woods announced that he had undergone a microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve in his back that had been previously hurting for several months. Announcing that he would hopefully return in the proceeding summer, Woods was hopeful that he had many years left in his career. The surgery was said to be successful but Woods was unable to play in The Masters tournament. Before the surgery he was trying to rehabilitate his back through therapy but it was proving to be unsuccessful and he thought other necessary action should be taken.

Last Sunday Woods finished off the 2014 season playing at his own tournament, the 16th Hero World Challenge at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Windermere, Florida. Woods finished last place in the field of 18 selected but he did show signs of the old Tiger after four days of play. With his new swing coach Chris Como, Woods was very vocal about the fact that he is currently in a rebuilding process and a win was not necessarily on the top of his priority list.

Fans can clearly see an old side of Tiger Woods coming back. He is trying to bring back the swing that gave him so much success when he was younger, and we can see that he is trying to have more fun while he is out on the course. Spectators could see Woods chatting with his fellow players and joking around while he is on the course. It’s nice to see a side of Woods that enjoys the game more and isn’t so business-like when he is in his natural environment.

“I know I’m not the only one who likes Tiger better when he is not only playing his best, but also enjoying the game,” senior Skyler Contardi said. “Tiger is one of the most fun athletes to watch in all of sports and it’s nice to see he’s back and healthy.”

Furthermore we see a Woods that is completely healthy. No pain was reported from his back, and it is evident that he will be ready in full force come the 2015 season. With a new swing coach and what seems to be a new mindset, the game of golf should once again see one of its fiercest competitors teeing it up in between the ropes.

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Ben Roeder

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