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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Tragic car accident yet another devastating setback for Woods

I never was and continue not to be that big of a golf fan. But ever since I was young, I have always had a special affection for one Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods. Since he exploded onto the national scene in the late 1990s, Tiger has become one of the most internationally beloved and recognized athletes in the world, tying the record for most wins on the PGA Tour, finishing second among men in major tournament victories, and achieving countless other records I can’t even begin to list here. His incredible achievements were only made more impressive by his unique background.
Woods was born in 1975 to a Black father and a Thai mother, and quickly developed an affinity for golf. When he was just a toddler, his father, Earl Woods, took him to a golf course in his native Orange County, Calif. From there on, a peerless talent would be revealed to the world. When he was just 3 years old, Woods would face off against comedian Bob Hope in a golf match on “The Mike Douglas Show.” By the time he was 5, Woods was featured in Golf Digest magazine and on the ABC show, “That’s Incredible!” As a teenager, Tiger was a champion U.S. Junior Amateur, and he would go on to dominate at Stanford University. At just 19 years old, he appeared in the Masters for the first time. It would not be his last.
In 1996, Woods turned pro. He immediately signed several lucrative endorsement deals with Nike and Titleist. That year, he won multiple majors and was named the PGA tour’s Rookie of the Year as well as Sports Illustrated’s prestigious Sportsman of the Year. Tiger’s further career needs no introduction. There were Masters’ wins and U.S. Open wins, making him one of America’s most beloved sports heroes. The story was incredible: A biracial kid dominating what had historically been a rich white man’s sport and doing it with class. The story was awesome and seemed too good to be true—because  perhaps it was.
In November of 2009, the National Enquirer reported that Woods had an extramarital affair with a New York City nightclub manager. A few days later, Woods was treated for injuries stemming from an altercation between him and his then-wife, Elin Nordegren. As the details began to trickle out about what had happened, a deluge of stories about Woods’s marital infidelity dominated the news cycle. The salaciousness of the scandal caused Wood’s reputation to take a major hit, and he lost several major endorsements. Although the scandal eventually faded from the public view, Woods struggled to regain his prior dominant form.
Throughout the 2010s, Woods dealt with a series of back issues that would severely limit his success on the golf course. Despite occasionally flirting with greatness, he was not able to regain that swagger that made him a superstar in the first place. In 2017, Woods was arrested near his home in Jupiter, Florida for a DUI, further harming his reputation. However, Woods continued to attempt a comeback, which reached its apogee in him winning the 2019 Masters, his first major tournament win in over a decade.
Tiger was dealt yet another setback when, in February 2021, he was involved in a devastating single-car accident after leaving a charity event in Southern California. Woods, thankfully, avoided life-threatening injuries but needed to go to a hospital for surgery on his legs and ankles following the crash. His future as a golfer is unknown, and as of right now, secondary to his health. But one has to wonder if we have seen the last of Tiger on the green, as perhaps he has one more comeback in him.

About the Contributor
Jack Sherman, Sports Writer