Tiger Woods, in an emotional interview published this week in Time magazine, opened up about his up-and-down career — plagued by recent injuries — and his well-publicized personal problems off the course.
Between 1997 and 2008, Tiger Woods was the biggest thing golf had ever seen. After stellar careers in both the college and amateur circuits, Tiger broke into the majors by becoming the first person of color to win the Masters, in 1997.
By 2008, Tiger Woods first began showing signs of being vincible. In 2008, two consecutive knee surgeries put him out of commission for much of the season. In 2009, he attempted a comeback, of sorts, but failed to win a major.
And in 2009, Tiger’s world came crashing down. Well-publicized and salacious details about his extramarital affairs made him the subject of celebrity scandal sheets for weeks, and his philandering would ultimately cost him his marriage to Swedish model Elin Nordegren, to whom he’d been married since 2003 and with whom he’d had two children.
“I’ve taken the initiative with the kids, and told them up front, ‘Guys, the reason why we’re not in the same house, why we don’t live under the same roof, Mommy and Daddy, is because Daddy made some mistakes.’ “
In 2013, Woods began dating Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn. The demanding schedules of two professional athletes, however, got in the way of their relationship, and the couple called it quits in May.
“Well, with Lindsey, what was hard is we never had time together. We’re texting each other. It was a great relationship, but it was so hard, when I’m training to do my sport… Meanwhile, most of her summer is spent in South America, at training camps in Chile and Argentina, and then you’ve got her season, which is mostly in Europe… It just could not work. It was doing an injustice to both of us.”
Since 2008, Tiger’s career on the golf course has been not unlike his personal life — a series of failures. He hasn’t won a major since 2008, and compounding injuries have taken their toll. His most recent injury — to his back — has left the 39-year-old barely able to walk.
“I walk 10 minutes on the beach. That’s it. Then I come back home and lie back down on the couch, or a bed.”
Tiger is now contending with the prospect that his career is very likely at its end. Plagued by injuries that have left him scarcely able to walk, and two kids who need him, Woods is at a crossroads.
“I don’t want [my career to end]. Without a doubt. I do not. With all my heart, I do not want to stop playing golf. But the flip side is, my kids’ lives are much more important to me.”
Still, at the end of the day, Tiger says, he’s holding onto a glimmer of hope — however faint it might be — that he can recover from his injuries and get back on top.
“But I don’t need another surgery, period. Seven’s enough. Four knees, three backs, that’s enough.”
As of this writing, it is not clear when — or if — Tiger Woods will compete in another professional golf tournament.
[Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]