Tiger Woods sped out of his Orlando driveway, throughout kerbs and a main booking, clashed with a fire hydrant and ploughed into a neighbour’s tree.
For the world’s most recognisable sportsman, this event during the extremely early hours of 27 November, 2009, began an outrageous, troubled and stunningly redemptive years.
In the previous lots years Woods had actually dominated golf like no other gamer. He won multiple majors – the championships that specify professions – and reeled off tournament triumphes all over the world.
In the past 10 years he has won only one major but his life has actually reversed. He is a doting father, his sport’s greatest ambassador and still a player capable of winning at the extremely highest level.
Comparing the most recent decade with the all-conquering period that preceded it, Rory McIlroy, who is among his greatest rivals, states: “I think what he had to go through to get to the other side in the last 10 years is similarly as impressive.”
In the wake of the crash, Woods’ image plumbed outrageous and agonizing depths before eventually skyrocketing again to hit impressive highs.
That night, 10 years ago, he was surrounded by shattered glass and was dazed from a mixed drink of pain relievers and sleeping tablets. He then passed out and was shuttled to health center in an ambulance.
We were about to discover that this proud champ was, in reality, a deeply flawed individual. The crash happened in the moments after his better half Elin had actually discovered out that her hubby had been cheating.
In the days and weeks that followed, it became clear Woods had actually been a serial womanizer. Star gossip publications and sites were all over the story. They ended up being a necessary source for tough news, as the failure of Woods made headings all over.
He had constantly jealously safeguarded his privacy. Now the entire world understood his address: 6348 Deacon Circle, Windermere, Florida 34786.
The crash took place a week after Woods included yet another competition success to his wonderful profession. He won the Australian Masters in Melbourne, however reporters from the National Enquirer were on his tail. The American celeb magazine suspected Woods had a secret girlfriend, Rachel Uchitel, in tow at the luxury Crown Casino and hotel.
When he went back to America he cautioned his better half the Enquirer would be publishing a story. He rejected its claims and multiple accounts mention that he set up a call in between Uchitel and Elin to reassure his partner.
Then on 26 November, Woods went to the close-by Isleworth clubhouse to spend Thanksgiving evening playing cards. He returned home, took an Ambien sleeping tablet and went to bed.
At this point Elin started to go through his smart phone. She texted Uchitel and after that called her. In the process she validated the affair. “I knew it,” she is widely reported to have stated. Elin then confronted a groggy Woods, who ran to his driveway, delved into his Cadillac Escalade and fatefully crashed leaving his property.
No-one tracked Woods more detailed in 2009 than reporter Robert Lusetich. He was composing Unplayable, a book examining the character of this most protected of golf enthusiasts.
Lusetich was playing golf with pals on 27 November. The Australian reporter remembers: “One of the people looked at his phone and he stated: ‘Tiger Woods has been hurt in a car mishap and no one understands how bad it is.’
” It was like ‘wow, that’s incredible’. So I sent Steve Williams [Woods’ caddie] a text. He remained in New Zealand.”
Williams called Mark Steinberg, Woods’ long-time agent from the International Management Group.
Lusetich heard back from Williams. “Steinberg said whatever will be fine,” the author states. “And after that he said: ‘Do not think anything that you’re gon na hear.’ That’s an odd thing to say. When we saw the story from the National Enquirer it became clear that this was certainly a scandal of some magnitude.”
Many ladies subsequently stepped forward to state they had secret relationships with the world’s finest golfer leaving his fans and fellow gamers stunned.
” I’ve found out a few of the new websites this week,” said Irishman Padraig Harrington, who was among Woods’ biggest competitors at the time. “It’s a phenomenal story, the spotlight is huge.”
When Woods was front page of the New york city Post for 20 successive days, it beat a record set by the 11 September attacks on New york city and Washington in 2001.
” I’m just amazed,” admitted the 2006 US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy. “How did nobody understand? Tiger Woods is quite recognisable.”
Woods retreated from competitive golf – the sport he controlled with 14 majors, 2nd only to the video game’s most successful player, Jack Nicklaus. He had been on track to upgrade that record of 18 major titles. It seemed just a matter of time for such a special gamer, one who had actually grown far bigger than just golf.
A black guy controling a white guy’s game, he might flash a million-dollar smile. Woods was the face of multinational companies such as Nike, Accenture, Gillette, Gatorade and Tag Heuer. He was the top golf player on the planet and Forbes made him sport’s very first billionaire.
There was a relatively idyllic domestic scene with a photogenic spouse and two children. To the outdoors world he had it all, but inside there was turmoil.
And it came cascading to the fore with the ruthless revelations which detailed his behaviour leading up to that infamous cars and truck crash.
Woods was released from hospital the following day and headed to Arizona where he had plastic surgery to repair his lip which had been cut in the crash. His whereabouts were known to just his closest confidants.
” I couldn’t think that Tiger Woods would be that reckless,” states Lusetich. “He had essentially persuaded himself that he was bulletproof since of prior incidents and being able to cover them up.”
On 11 December Woods launched a statement which said he was taking an indefinite break from golf.
” I am deeply familiar with the frustration and hurt that my cheating has actually caused to numerous people, most of all my wife and kids,” he published on his site.
After Christmas, he checked out Pine Grove Behavioural Health and Dependency Services, a facility in downtown Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It was reported he registered on the “Thankfulness” program to deal with sex addiction.
Woods has actually never ever validated the nature of his treatment. “Thankfulness” was designed by Dr Patrick Carnes, who initially presented the term sexual dependency into medical circles in 1983.
What seems certain is that Woods faced a harsh routine of self analysis well away from the outdoors world. It suggested he missed the very first birthday of his kid Charlie.
” I can’t go back to where I was,” he later stated. “I want to become part of my son’s life and my child’s life moving forward.”
Not everyone was convinced of the wisdom of Woods’ treatment. A future president weighed in on Fox News: “I would advise Tiger simply call it a disappointment,” said Donald Trump.
” Say bye-bye, head out, be a fantastic playboy, win competitions and have a good life. The most important thing Tiger can do is return on the golf course and win. This whole thing with sex rehabilitation, I’m not sure I’m a believer.”
Woods returned home to Isleworth on 15 February 2010 and it was time to deal with the world.
Four days later, surrounded by buddies and his mom Kultida, he stood before a tv cam in a space at PGA Tour head office in Florida. Twenty-two TELEVISION networks in the US cut off schedules to transmit Woods’ 14- minute statement. Never had this supreme champ looked so vulnerable.
He apologised for his “irresponsible and self-centered behaviour” and afterwards his mother stated: “I’m so happy to be his mother, duration. He didn’t do anything illegal. He didn’t kill anybody.”
The Open champ at the time, Stewart Cink, commented: “It was probably one of the most difficult things he’s ever needed to do.”
The night prior to the apology Woods went to the range to strike his first golf balls considering that the scandal broke. “I hit them strong,” he is reported to have actually informed Hank Haney, his coach at the time.
He went back to action at the first significant of the year, the Masters, a little under two months later and received heavy criticism from Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club.
” He disappointed everybody,” Payne said at an impressive chairman’s news conference. “And more significantly, our kids and our grandkids. Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the good example we saw for our children.”
Incredibly, Woods finished fourth in the tournament, a sensational result versus the very best gamers on the planet after four tortuous months far from the video game.
Within days Woods split with Haney, who subsequently composed a tell-all book, The Big Miss. It detailed his extremely successful time coaching Woods and supplied unique insights on somebody so secretive of his life on and off the course.
Haney revealed Woods’ obsession with the military, that the gamer had actually trained with Navy Seals and gone through penalizing programs that put massive stress on his body.
Throughout his profession he requires several surgical treatments to remedy knee, neck and back problems. “Some of the injuries, I think, did not come from golf,” states Lusetich.
” He went through that crazy phase of wanting to be a Navy Seal and did some harmful things that harm both his back and his knee.”
However, by 2013 Woods returned to the top of golf’s world rankings. He was controling the PGA Tour however failed to include to his major tally. No longer feared in the manner in which he was pre-scandal, he appeared a weaker force on significant weekends.
” What occurred 10 years ago, I think there was constantly that aura of invincibility around Tiger, so I think that showed a little bit of a susceptible side to him,” says Rory McIlroy.
” It humanised him a bit. It is undoubtedly really hard to come back from something like that from a mental standpoint.”
However as a fellow rival, McIlroy is also impressed by how Woods managed the injuries that threatened his career. “He’s been through the wars just with what he’s needed to go through physically,” says the current world number 2.
” I keep in mind to this day the lunch we had in 2017 and he was sort of talking ‘perhaps this is it? Maybe I can’t play any longer’. Then 15 months later on he’s winning on the PGA Trip once again.”
Weeks after that cynical lunch date, on April 20, 2017, Woods had what showed to be a career-saving back fusion operation. It was the last throw of the dice, surgical treatment basically targeted at making him able to be an active daddy and household male. If he could compete once again as a golf player, that would be a reward. “It is hard to reveal just how much better I feel,” Woods composed a month after the procedure, his fourth and essential back surgery.
However, although he was fixed there was more pity to be withstood. To manage the rehab and previous pain, Woods was dependant on a mixed drink of pain relievers and sedatives. Within days of that upbeat assessment, he consumed a potentially deadly mixture of drugs.
In his system there was Vicodin for pain relief, Dilaudid – an illegal drug to combat extreme discomfort – Xanax to alleviate anxiety, THC – the active component in cannabis and Ambien to assist sleep.
We understand this since he was discovered by Jupiter police slumped at the wheel of his Mercedes automobile which was parked up with punctured tires at around 2am on 29 May, 2017.
Video video of an incoherent, shambolic Woods being questioned by authorities, handcuffed and put in cells for the night went viral. His puffy-eyed mugshot gazed from the front page of quite much every newspaper.
His DUI (driving under the influence) arrest led to prosecution for reckless driving. There was no alcohol in his system however the episode threatened uneasy echoes of his disastrous failure of 2009.
” The most significant part of his resurgence and the one that will get least attention from ‘Camp Tiger’ is that DUI,” insists Lusetich. “I think that was rock bottom.
” When everyone saw him slurring, not able to stroll, the terrific Tiger Woods and that video, there was an unhappiness to it. It was an awful vision of an once great and now fallen star.”
As soon as once again Woods required to put his life back together. He got clean and in addition found he was able to swing a golf club with liberty. It was a discovery and suggested he might do what he always did finest – contend.
He came close to winning the 2018 Open at Carnoustie and the United States PGA the following month. Then he won the season-ending Tour Championship, eclipsing McIlroy, his playing partner in the final round.
” And quick forward another seven months after that and he’s won another significant,” McIlroy states. “I believe it’s been amazing.
” I think it shows his character, his mental capacity, his grit that he can return after all these incidents, whether it be individual life or the physical injuries that he’s needed to endure.”
Woods has reconstructed his whole life because the 2009 crash. Elin separated him in the wake of the revelations that followed. Between 2013 and 2015 he dated US skier Lindsey Vonn, someone aware of the distinct needs of life in the sporting spotlight. Now the golf player remains in a long-term relationship with Erica Herman, general manager of his dining establishment in Jupiter, Florida. She existed with his kids to greet him at Augusta after Woods won this year’s Masters.
For the champ, the reality that his kids were there to witness his 15 th significant title, his very first because the pre-scandal United States Open of 2008, was the most awesome element of that extraordinary victory last April.
” I believe he achieved more as a person in the last years,” says McIlroy. “Believe about the wonderful task he has done as a daddy to Sam and Charlie.
” That uses up a substantial portion of his time now, attempting to be with them as much as possible. He does not travel as much due to the fact that he does not desire to be away from choosing them up from school, seeing their football matches or any of that.
” That side of him has truly blossomed since of all the things he’s had to go through,” includes the Northern Irishman.
Previously this month Woods won once again. The Zozo Championship in Japan provided his 82 nd PGA Tour success, equalling the record set by the legendary Sam Snead.
The competition spilled into a 5th day because of weather hold-ups. On the last early morning English golf enthusiast Ian Poulter warmed up along with Woods.
” He’s incredible,” says the 43- year-old, who has played throughout the Woods period.
” It was as good as I have actually seen Tiger Woods ever struck it. Ever. It was as managed as I’ve ever seen him,” Poulter includes.
” To listen to the strike, view the ball flight and to see him end up off that tournament, Tiger has actually still got it. He doesn’t need his A game, his A minus game is still excellent enough to get the job done.”
Woods remains deeply personal but his image has actually softened and in a regulated way he lets more individuals into his life. On Golf TV, where he supplies insights for subscribers, he shows previously hidden charm and humour.
” He did a fantastic task of not allowing the human being to come out and be seen,” Lusetich says of Woods’ previous life.
” It’s not like he’s an open book these days but things like he does now with Golf TELEVISION, and I understand they pay him, open him up more and there is more depth to him.”
It has actually been an impressive journey over the last years. From all-time low, Woods trips high once again. He is a redeemed, brought back champ still more essential to his sport than any other gamer.
Next month he returns to Australia a various guy. He captains his nation in the Presidents Cup, a Ryder Cup equivalent against the remainder of the world outside Europe. He is playing so well he needed to select himself as a wildcard selection.
He turns 44 at the end of this year, a leader and player, fit and fighting and a champion of more compound than the figure who was hiding numerous tricks in the first part of his career.
As McIlroy says: “He’s a fantastic ambassador for our video game. Everybody included in golf, you in the media, ourselves as gamers, devices makers – everybody benefits from Tiger Woods being at the top of golf.
” I think we should all count ourselves really lucky that he’s still because position.”