The roars on the back nine have been replaced by the siren of a police car. The photos of Tiger Woods smiling ear to ear, trophy in hand, after winning another tournament has now been replaced by the look of embarrassment. The video of him wearing the red Nike golf shirt on a Sunday at a golf tournament has been replaced by police dash cam video of his inability to walk a straight line heel-to-toe while going through a sobriety test in Jupiter, Florida, on the morning of Memorial Day.
Tiger Woods, one of the biggest stars and most recognizable athletes in the entire world, was once again splashed across all the front pages of newspapers across the country for all the wrong reasons. His mug shot was the butt of jokes on social media, radio and TV. Tiger Woods has hit a new low in his life and nobody can say for sure if it is rock bottom. Think about that. Think about how the life of Tiger Woods has been turned upside down and all by his own doing.
I don’t think anyone, unless your name is Tiger Woods, truly understands what is going on in his life.
The latest sad depressing twist was his arrest for suspicion of DUI in Jupiter, Florida, at 3 a.m. on Memorial Day. His car was damaged, he was asleep at the wheel and when asked by officers where he was, he thought he was in California. In a statement after his arrest, Woods blamed an “unexpected reaction to prescribed medications” for his clearly altered state.
Tiger Woods is a 41-year-old golf icon that has gone through so much in his personal live since his last major victory in 2008. This latest was an arrest in which he was lucky that he did not hurt someone else or himself. Where was he going at 3 a.m.? Is this the low point for Woods? I would imagine his mug shot being pasted on newspapers across the country, websites and social media with one creative headline after another certainly was not something other than complete and total embarrassment. He is lucky too. Lucky that he did not hurt himself or kill someone else when he got behind the wheel in such an altered state.
All the injuries and surgeries have certainly played their role in his career downturn on the golf course. There is no question of his impact on the sport. How he made it popular and cool. In his popularity and blazing star, golf courses were built all across this country and professional golfers became richer as the sport became flush with cash due to the rise in focus. He changed the game and the way the game was played forever. In the great debate, golf is considered a sport more than just a game or acquired skill and his brilliance tilted that conversation.
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But now Tiger Woods is left searching for himself and his identity. At 41 years old, when you can no longer play the game you love due to injury, what do you do? When you can no longer dominate the sport that was your life’s work, what do you do? When you can no longer compete, what do you do? Golf played such a meaningful role in his life and in large part defined him as a man. I am not sure that Woods has found anything that has filled that void and he probably never will.
It has to be a lonely existence when your personal life has been played out in the public eye the way it has with Woods. Where exactly does he turn to get away? Where was he going in the early morning hours last Monday and why was there nobody to stop him from getting into his car? Was this a bad decision or a sign of a larger problem with Woods? All of these are great questions and unless your name is Tiger Woods, they are difficult questions to answer.
They say in life, when you live long enough you will get a chance to see and experience everything. If you told me 15 years ago that this is where Tiger Woods’ life would be on and off the course, I would have said you were crazy. But, here we are nonetheless. Now, it is not about when Tiger Woods will return to the PGA Tour or when he will win another major. Now, it is about him getting his life in order. That is not being dramatic, that is just being realistic.
Tiger Woods was destined for greatness at an early age and exceeded all of our expectations in a lot of ways. There is no denying that. His life and career have unraveled right before our very eyes in recent years. What are the realistic expectations now? Sadly, not much at all.