Tiger Woods Topped Sports Headlines in 2010

Tiger Woods (file photo)
Tiger Woods (file photo)

Golfer Tiger Woods of the United States has been called the most recognizable athlete in the world. Because of his tremendous talent and athleticism, it was not long after Woods joined the Professional Golfers Association Tour, PGA, 15 years ago that he became synonymous with success.

But 2010 was different for the 34-year-old American.  It marked a year of very public losses for Woods, both personal and professional. After admitting to a string of extra-marital affairs, he lost his wife, his sterling reputation, millions of dollars in endorsements, and his world number-one golf ranking.  He also failed to win a single tournament, not even a charity event, for the first time since beginning his professional career in 1996. Yet, surprisingly, Woods said the past year was the best thing that could have happened to him.  

He became a global superstar athlete for all the right reasons - he earned it by winning over and over again. The first "golf superhero."  

He had everything: A beautiful, loving wife, and two adorable children. Enormous wealth. A thriving charitable foundation. The golden touch for any product he endorsed. And with 14 major championship titles, he was closing-in on the all-time record of 18 majors held by American great, Jack Nicklaus.   

Woods had made golf sexy.  

Then in 2010, he landed in life's proverbial rough. "For all that I have done, I am so sorry," he said.

Public Apology

That first public apology came in February to a small group of invited family, friends and media. "I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated," he said.

For Woods, 2010 started pretty much the way 2009 ended: with the world's top-ranked golfer embroiled in scandal on an indefinite, self-imposed hiatus from the PGA Tour, trying to save his marriage after making a shocking confession of infidelity.

Before the turmoil began in late November of 2009, Woods was preparing for the 2010 season after missing half of 2009 recovering from reconstructive knee surgery. Three months later in February, with his Swedish-born wife Elin glaringly absent, Woods tried to answer the obvious, unspoken question, "What were you thinking?"

"I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt I was entitled. I was wrong. It's now up to me to make amends.  It's up to me to start living a life of integrity," he said.

Treatment and Therapy

Tiger revealed he had spent 45 days addressing his personal issues through in-patient treatment and therapy, which he said he would continue. Woods also spoke of how he had deviated from his core values in recent years and had recently renewed  the Buddhist faith he shares with his mother.

Tiger's troubles started November 27, 2009, just days after he won the Australian Masters, to date, his last victory.

It was the middle of the night following the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday when Woods drove his Cadillac Escalade sport utility vehicle ((SUV)) into a fire hydrant and crashed into his neighbor's tree.  The accident occurred only meters from the front door of his $2.4 million Florida home.

Almost immediately, news reports began linking Woods' bizarre mishap with allegations that he had cheated on his wife. Eventually, more than 12 women would publicly claim to have had a sexual relationship with Elin Woods' husband.

Rejoins PGA Tour

Tiger rejoined the PGA Tour for The Masters in early April. He said in addition to taking stock of his personal life away from golf, he also re-evaluated his conduct when playing.  Woods always played with intensity and verve,  but he also was notorious for his unsportsmanlike outbursts of anger and use of profanity when he was frustrated.  Ahead of The Masters, the world number-one golfer pledged to be more respectful of the game, with one caveat.  

"I'm actually going to try and obviously not get as hot when I play. But then again, when I'm not as hot, I'm not going to be not as exuberant either. I can't play one without the other," he said.

Woods finished The Masters tied for fourth place. He had some other bright moments, but as the season wore on, Tiger's personal problems along with making the adjustment to a new golf swing had taken their toll. By season's end, he was a non-factor in the PGA's lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs, which started in late August only a few days after Woods divorce became final.   

Woods said his actions led to the break-up of his marriage. "You don't ever go into a marriage looking to get divorced. You know, that's the thing, that's why it's sad," he said.

No longer a Superman in golf cleats, Woods dropped to second in the world rankings November first, and ended the year losing a playoff for second place at his own charity event, the Chevron World Challenge.

But wait. With all of this misery, how could Tiger Woods say this is the best thing that could have happened to him?

Perhaps it is because he spent 2010 working on more than just a new golf swing.

Despite his disastrous year, he began to reach out to his fans through the media and the Internet in December.  

In  Newsweek magazine, he wrote a first person narrative entitled, "How I've Redefined Victory."  Woods described how he appreciated things he had once overlooked, such as making dinner for his children.  He said he was learning that "some victories can mean smiles, not trophies, and that life's most ordinary events can bring joy."

In an interview on ESPN radio, he said he was "infinitely" happier than at the same time in 2009. "I can't get better as a player if I don't get better as a person.  I'm so much better now because of this past year.  I was just very difficult on a lot of people, especially those closest to me, but it's been the best thing for me," he said.

The serendipity that 2010 brought to his life was not lost on Eldrick "Tiger" Woods, who perhaps came to appreciate that it was a holiday of thanksgiving that set him on a path of introspection, loss and pain that he ultimately saw as a gift - and an opportunity to find a new definition of what it means to be a champion.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs