News

    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.
    Comments
         
    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.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora