The name Tiger Woods may once have been synonymous with success and sporting excellence, but now you most likely know him best as the poster boy for infidelity, scandal and public humiliation. The golfer’s fall from grace may have earned the title of being one of the most notorious to date, resulting in the destruction of his family, career and reputation and, despite his best efforts, was publicised as though it was an episode of Eastenders. There is no part of me that condones any of Tiger Woods’ behaviour, nor do I take solace in his explanations, largely based on a misguided sense of entitlement, but it is for this exact reason I so heavily praise him. Woods’ comeback victory this weekend, to me, is less about golf and more about a story of determination, resilience and vindication.
The theme is similar to that which underpinned my article on the rehiring of James Gunn, in which I praised the director’s redemption. Not only did Woods face troubles of a personal, marital and consequentially professional nature, but he also suffered with his health, accumulating several injuries which hindered his golfing abilities. In the wake of an effective exile from society and health setbacks, Woods’ return to the course and success is not just notable but perhaps revolutionary. Woods represents a positive trend in our society towards forgiveness and compassion, exemplifying the perhaps millennial mind-set of progression, self-improvement and understanding. In our own lives we are often faced with an array of problems, which often can seem overwhelming. The incline to give up, retire and slip away from the spotlight and into the dark corners of society following Woods’ tribulations would not only be understandable but, by most people, expected. Yet, Woods is no longer the stereotype of self-inflicted failure, making us bow our heads in disappointment, but he has become a heroic tale of perseverance and success which should inspire us all.
There are many synonymous problems which a huge number of people face in their lives, albeit most likely not as publicly, ranging from addiction to mental health problems, to losing your job or the breakdown of a marriage. Woods undoubtedly hit rock bottom, crashed and burned, and yet has clawed and climbed his way back. He is a beacon of light and hope in a world which can often seem dark. His story is not one of sport or fame, but simply of self-reflection, apology, improvement and hard-work. At times when it seems as if the world is against you, chaotic or overwhelming, let Woods be a lesson to us all that no matter how bad it may seem, there is always the chance to redeem yourself. Woods’ victory is important and symbolic of two things; the need for a compassionate society which offers second chances and the power of resilience and relentlessness. While I may not adopt the ideology of ‘forgive and forget’ in this case, as I’m not sure his actions can ever be forgotten, it appears as though Tiger may officially be out of the woods.