Watching Tiger sinking an incredible putt that placed him 1 behind the tournament leader at the Valspar Championship two weekends ago was one of those moments where you felt goosebumps run up your arms. At least, that’s what seeing my childhood hero’s comeback felt like to me.
Next to my father and grandfathers, Tiger Woods undoubtedly shaped the kind of man I wanted to be. I felt the devastation like I’m sure many other millennial golf enthusiasts, when his faults came to light – substance use, injuries, arrest, family tragedy, and infidelity. For the past decade, many doubted that Tiger would ever come back. Watching him re-enter the game, only to fail, was one of the more painful things to watch as someone who always admired this man, even during his more human moments.
When I think about my own rock bottom, there were no paparazzi, no scandalous newspapers following my every trial and tribulation. Just my parents – my dad disappointed, my mom distraught, my friends disgusted. And with humility (or really, humiliation) and my tail between my legs, I was able to start slowly rebuilding my life. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be Tiger Woods, striving to achieve a similar kind of comeback in the public’s eye. But on March 11th, at the Valspar Tournament, I watched my childhood hero come back.
I work in a field where “comebacks” happen all the time. Young men struggling with addiction who have lost the trust of their family and loved ones are able to turn things around, even with the odds against them. Unfortunately, there are those that never have the opportunity to come back, that are taken down permanently by this disease. That’s why, when I see a guy who has really turned his life around, I can’t help but celebrate this miracle of comebacks that come with this job I’ve been privileged to occupy.
So, to all you humans out there grappling with the delusion that there’s no coming back, remember — Tiger’s back.
– Austin Berry