The sight of his demolished SUV, seated badly on a grassy Southern California hill, conceived the image of Tiger Woods as an unstoppable force leading to a definite, thrilling triumph at the golf course.
This was not always the case, and until recently his victory has been far from commanding. But Tiger has a lot embedded in it. And in this era of epidemic and relentless loss, we struggle to face the struggle Dislocated vehicleLying in a hospital bed, broken leg bones and Questions about whether he will play again – while still dissecting who he is and what he has coined.
What happened to the sterling athlete who hoped to revisit the game of golf and even, perhaps, wider culture?
Woods’ greatness, once seemingly preordained, has fallen amazingly over the past dozens of years, from grace and betrayal to his body.
But many of us are still clinging to it, even if it means grasping at the intensity of memory. We remember Kautuk, who explodes nationally on the scene of the “Mike Douglas Show”, which hits at the age of 2. We remember his Stanford years and 1997 MastersThe first of 15 major titles, won at the age of 21 in history-making fashion.
What do you think when you think of Woods?
Is that the superstar who lived for Topping Records? Who grew out of his eyes when he broke Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships? Recall that there was a time when it seemed like an audacious, even arrogant, goal. They then set about chasing, quickly approaching Niklas near Oh-so-pass, major after chief.
Is it the golfer whose presence in a largely isolated, upper-crust game was not only shocking, but also a set of issues that plagued our world today?
With her flickering brown skin, her power and confidence, Woods blew the doors of all-white country clubs. Remember the snails and the easy way in which golf giants Fuzzy joller “That little boy?” Refer to Woods or Zoeller publicly urged Woods not to add fried chicken and collard greens on the menu of the Masters Champions dinner?
This golf culture penetrated into the woods, and took over the world on sight.
But how did he see himself? Things get difficult here. Raised in a predominantly white suburbs by a mother from Thailand and an African-American father, Woods was one of the first prominent sports figures to openly adopt the idea that she represented plurality. “growing up,” He told Oprah Winfrey Shortly afterwards the first Masters victory, “I came up with the name: I am a Cabalinian.”
In a world that struggles to go beyond race in tight boxes, that remark alienates some of his most ardent supporters. But if he was tricked into keeping his blackness a short distance away, it did not diminish his popularity. No matter how Woods defined himself, he was inspired with a certain vigor. Forever Trailblazer and Talisman. He set a torch on the old order. This was enough.
Then came 2009, and a troubled dynasty. It started with the tabloid stories of married Woods embroiled in serial infidelity. His deep flaws were eventually exposed: his illegal texts, his attempts, his rehab journeys battling drug addiction.
Woods was among the first transit sports stars at the beginning of the digital age. His aura, his race, his swagger and shotmaking, club twisters and fist bumps and miracle shots – all of this was perfectly suited to YouTube and the rise of sports apps that feasted on fleeting moments and a sense of sensation.
The digital age also exacerbated their troubles. Each imperfection was there to see, personal and professional. For a decade, as his body wreaked havoc in the years ahead and underwent surgery, Woods was a shadow of his former self. Moving on to 2019, he has not won a major tournament in nearly 11 years.
Yet Woods somehow bowed at Teflon. His revelations of human fraud cost him fans and plenty of support. But a significant portion of his fans were forgiven and forgotten. The constant hug was a fantastical act by the public all eager to give a winner a second and third chance. Especially a winner like Woods.
He continued to be a top draw, a global icon, even with him season after season, sometimes taking a toll after age and injury. At one time, he was ranked 1,119th in the world. But then April 2019 came, and Masters. Remembering every remnant of his former self, he Rise to victory, The Giants celebrated their fifth champion’s green jacket.
Anyone who did not watch that tournament will forget it. Not only the stirring return, but Woods sight Wrapping his son, Charlie, and his daughter, Sam, in his arms as he walked through the final green. It called for keeping the embrace given by Woods’ father, Earl, after winning the Masters in 1997. It also spoke of a poignant change over time. Woods was no longer the rising young champion, but he could still reach the highest peaks, if only in short bursts.
April 2019 feels long ago, seeing that the world has gone through this past year.
And now this. On Tuesday, we saw the remains of that SUV and awaited the update. We were shocked, remembering Kobe Bryant’s helicopter, just over a year ago across another Southern California hill.
We hear as a sheriff and his duties describe the wreck, explaining that Woods was fortunate to be alive and that drugs and alcohol were not involved. He said he was unloaded from his vehicle and taken to the stretcher.
“Unfortunately,” one of them said, “Mr. Woods was not able to stand on the strength of his power.”
How can such a situation arise in front of Tiger Woods, who steps into the majestic golf course with so much purpose? It was a reminder, once again, that the heroes are human, full of weakness, unable to dodge the dreadful twists of fate that scare everyone away.