Every so often, you get a notification on your phone that makes you look twice. It can be a piece of positive information, like Arsenal making a new signing, or it can be negative information, like being told that Tiger Woods has been in a car accident.
The weird part about this notification is what happened before. Twenty minutes before the news filtered through, a video had surfaced showing Woods and former NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade playing golf. Woods had been giving Wade a golf lesson, and the video was full of positivity and happiness. Twenty minutes later, the notification came through, and the feeling in the pit of my stomach was sickening.
It has always been amazing how quickly life can change. One day you are sitting in the living room, in front of the television with your family, watching Tiger Woods win another tournament. Fast forward eleven years later, you are looking at images of a car wreck involving the very same person.
For years Woods seemed untouchable, almost God-like. He would win every tournament under the sun, had all the endorsements in the world, to go along with the prize money he was earning.
Woods had an incredible aura around him. This mesmerising arrogance that made his fans confident but also put the fear of God in his opponents. From the club twirls to the swearing, the winning smile, to punching the air in celebration. Woods would play some shots that would make you wonder whether he was even real. He was a superhero.
Woods was not without fault. He seemed to at times distance himself from the black community. He would describe himself as “Cablinasian” to Oprah when talking about his background. The funny part is even though he offended a lot of people, his popularity never dwindled. It was once said that when Tiger Woods played, there was a 35% increase in viewership.
Woods was a trailblazer for the sport. In a sport that has always been dominated by privileged white men, a kid with brown skin came and took everybody’s money. Now that I look at it, maybe that was the issue — the way we perceived Tiger Woods.
At times, we tend to put people on a pedestal, not realising that they are human beings just like us. Yes, Woods was a trailblazer and a serial winner, but he is human. Like all humans, he was not perfect, and as much as we would like to believe he was, he had his issues just like the rest of us.
In 2009, we would learn about his infidelity issues, which would later lead to his divorce. He came back to play after that, but he was never quite the same. From 2014 to 2017, Woods suffered multiple back injuries that required surgery. In 2017, Woods was also arrested for driving while under the influence. After his arrest, a video was released of Woods being spoken to by the police, which looked nothing like the superhero I had watched as a child.
Woods would come back to play golf, and he was still the biggest show in town. But, that air of invincibility that he once had was not there anymore. So much so that when he won the 2019 Masters Tournament, his first major victory since 2008, most people found themselves close to tears, even his competition. That was never the reaction that you would get for Tiger Woods winning. It was because he was seen as human, with all he had endured throughout the years, it felt right watching Tiger celebrate a major win with his kids.
It is now 2021 and we have another reminder that he is human. We saw images of his SUV lying on its side, in what looks like an abandoned piece of land like a scene from Fast and Furious.
If you look at the police report, you become even more terrified. The idea that “he was lucky to be alive”, and that “he was not able to stand on his own power”, is a sobering thought. As a child, the notion that a hero would be close to death is something none of us could fathom.
So how does the story end for the hero? Usually in the movie, they look defeated but they are able to summon the strength needed to defeat their opponent. That is what Tiger will have to do here. This is much bigger than watching him play golf again. You just hope and pray that he can be able to get back to normal life. The movie always ends with the superhero thriving again, all you can do is pray that is the case here.