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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs