Before Tiger Woods got into any trouble, many thought of him as a golfing god, almost invincible, on Tour. He could do no wrong in the eyes of his fans, that is, until the world found out about his infidelity.
You might think this is where the timeline begins, but his 2009 sex scandal is an entity all on its own. It is the wrecking ball that tore Tiger from his exalted throne. No, instead we start the timeline after a year of success, the year he won 5 times on Tour and regained his spot as World No. 1. In 2013, Woods won Player of the Year for the 11th time, and with his confidence back through the roof, he had his first back surgery.
Tiger Woods announces he’ll be missing his first Masters as a pro after undergoing back surgery prior to the tournament. Woods said the microdiscectomy will force him “to miss several tournaments” and that his goal is to return “sometime this summer.”
Woods returns to competition at the Quicken Loans National but misses the cut after shooting scores of 74 and 75.
Woods misses the cut at the PGA Championship and shows sign of pain during his second round at Valhalla.
Woods misses the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open after a second-round 82. His performance causes many to wonder if he’s developed the chipping yips.
Woods walks off after playing just 11 holes of his first round at the Farmers Insurance Open. He cites another back injury, but draws more attention for saying it was caused by him not getting his glutes to “activate.”
April 2015 (a year later)
Woods returns at the Masters and even shows up on the leader board Saturday before ultimately ending up T-17.
Less than a month after finishing T-10 at the Wyndham Championship, Woods announces he’s undergone a second back operation. He says his goal is to return “early in 2016.”
Woods announces he’s undergone a third back surgery to relieve pain.
“It’s one of those things that had to be done,” Woods said. “I have an outstanding team of doctors, and I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Woods posts a video of him hitting a shot on a simulator with the caption, “Progressing nicely.” Although neither Woods nor his agent, Mark Steinberg, offer a timeline for his return, the clip causes excitement that a comeback is imminent.
Progressing nicely. pic.twitter.com/HKnnluR1OW
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) February 24, 2016
After sending mixed messages and false hope, Tiger does not play all season. He does however become the Vice Captain for the winning U.S. Team at the Ryder Cup. In this same month he announces his return to competitive golf AND his withdrawal from those tournaments. “My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be,” he said.
Playing in his first competitive event in 16 months, Woods shoots four rounds of 73-65-70-76 leaving him well out of contention. His return to golf was less than anticipated.
Despite his trouble to get on top of the leaderboard, Woods signs with TaylorMade. He then proceeds to play in his first official PGA Tour event since 2015. Woods shoots 76-72 to miss the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open, on a golf course where he’s won eight times as a professional.
Following an opening 77 in the Dubai Desert Classic, Woods withdraws from the event an hour before his second round tee time due to back spasms. At this point he’s only played 7 rounds of golf.
Speculation arises that Woods will compete in the Masters. He announces that this is not true and said, “I did about everything I could to play, but my back rehabilitation didn’t allow me the time to get tournament ready.” This year marked the 20th anniversary of his first major title.
Woods announces that he has undergone a fourth surgery to alleviate nerve damage. The procedure will leave him out of the field for another six months.
We all know what happens here. Shortly after announcing that the fusion surgery went well and that he was feeling better than ever, Woods gets pulled over for a non-alcohol related DUI.
There you have it folks. The curious case of Tiger Woods and his downfall from the podium. That’s what four surgery’s will do to a person. He can’t help it if his body won’t cooperate, but can you imagine how frustrating that might be? The guy deserves a break, whether that’s from his fans or from professional golf. Will he ever return? The chances seem slim.