Washington: The amazing golf career of Tiger Woods, from two-year-old prodigy to his epic comeback 2019 Masters victory, was in jeopardy on Tuesday after injuries suffered in a serious solo car crash.
The 45-year-old American, among the world’s most famous athletes for the past quarter-century, underwent surgery for multiple leg injuries following the early morning wreck near Los Angeles.
It could mean the end of a groundbreaking career that has seen Woods win 15 major titles, three shy of the all-time record set by Jack Nicklaus, and 82 US PGA crowns, level with Sam Snead for the all-time mark.
Woods has faced plenty of prior troubles off the course, including multiple back and knee surgeries, the 2009 revelation of multiple affairs that led to an emotional public apology and divorce from wife Elin Nordegren plus a 2017 reckless driving incident.
Woods was recovering from 2017 back surgery when he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, his mug shot drawing worldwide attention. He said he had not realized how prescription drugs he was taking might interact and later pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
In the 1990s, Woods put himself alongside pal and NBA star Michael Jordan as two of the world’s most iconic sports stars and richest endorsement pitchmen, his fame going beyond golf lovers or sports fans.
Woods thrilled audiences with his skill as well as a winning charm and personality, global audiences inviting him into their homes through television every week, while at the same time keeping private details about his life.
Woods was the first black winner of the Masters in 1997, hugging his father Earl after his historic victory in course record fashion.
In 2019, Woods would come off the same green at Augusta National after winning his first major title since 2008 and hug his children, Sam and Charlie, in a bookend moment to signal a completed return from back surgery Woods hoped would allow him a normal life. It also gave him another chance at golfing glory.