Amidst reports that his career is finished, Tiger Woods hit back this week with a defiant statement that gave golfers something to smile about over the holidays. With his 40th birthday lingering around the corner, Woods sounded optimistic when he released a message to fans saying that he planned on winning many more majors over the next decade.
Woods has not won a tournament anywhere since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and his major drought dates back to 2008. But is the most interesting golfer to grace planet earth really capable of bouncing back to the dizzying heights he found a decade ago?
After sitting atop the world rankings for 683 weeks, Woods spends his 40th Christmas a lowly 414th. Earlier this month, the candle of hope appeared to be burning out when Woods announced that there was “no light at the end of the tunnel.” Depression is understandable when names such as Chiragh Kumar, Joakim Lagergren and Rhein Gibson stand above you in the rankings. Yes, I’ve never heard of them either. Woods was clearly feeling it.
Champions never give up
The winner of 79 PGA TOUR events, including 14 majors, is naturally made of steel. After suffering from the Winter blues this month, Woods appeared in more confident mood on Tuesday when he firmly stated he will be playing golf “at the highest level” in 2016 and beyond.
In a blog written on the PGA TOUR’s website, Woods said: “The thing I’m looking forward to the most about 2016 is getting back out there again. I’ve missed it, and I would like to do it pain-free.”
“I haven’t done that in what seems like a long time. I’ve had it in spurts the last few years and have done some pretty good things, but I’d like to have sustained health,” Woods continued.
2015: A f**king rollercoaster of a year
No one could have predicted 2015 would’ve ended up so poorly for Woods, not even the 14-time major champion himself. After battling a swing change that finally looked as if it was coming together at the Wyndham Championship, Woods’ career was thrown into doubt when he underwent a second back surgery in as many years.
“As far as 2015, it was a tough year physically and took a toll on my body. I had to battle through a swing pattern change and get that organized, because it was awful at the beginning of the year … the frustrating part was not being able to build on it throughout the year.To finally have it switch and turn in the last event I played at the Wyndham Championship, and then lo and behold, I can’t physically do it any more … so it’s been a roller-coaster ride the entire year,” added Woods.
On top of a tumultuous year on the golf course, Woods’ private life has been problematic too after a public breakup with Lindsey Vonn caused unwanted anxiety. After being put through the ringer, Woods finally appears in good spirits as the holidays come around once more.
“Where do I see myself in the next five to 10 years? I am still playing golf at the highest level and winning tournaments and major championships,” Woods added.
None of us really know what Woods chances are, but after seeing his body decay over the past five years, fans of Tiger Woods are remaining cautiously optimistic in light of Woods’ renewed sense of purpose.