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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs