Life is challenging. That assessment, quite the grandest understatement ever me thinks, is relatable to all and arguably no one more than Tiger Woods, who after the highest of highs reached a series of lows off the golf course, becoming tabloid fodder for years instead of his mastery on the green. The past week has found Woods back with a vengeance and a mission.
Roughly 14 months ago, the golf great was involved in a car accident so horrific he almost lost his right leg. Zoom to tomorrow morning, the 46-year-old superstar is set to tee off at the first round of the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club. Not only is he about to play for what would be his sixth green jacket, which would tie him with Jack Nicklaus for the most Masters victories ever at 16, the superstar expects to win. Case in point this exchange with an interviewer yesterday:
Do you think you can win the Masters this week?
The confidence this “master” bestowed to the media yesterday was vintage Tiger, but it also speaks volumes of how we can aspire to be on so many levels— how we can overcome adversity, meet and accept challenges, and excel and adapt as we get older. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to learn from Woods. That’s why this moment is such a teachable and valuable one. Rising above pitfalls, some of our own doing, is crucial. So is adapting. Earlier this week, the longtime Nike pitchman made news for wearing FootJoy shoes during his practice rounds. “I needed something different, something that allowed me to be more stable,” he told the media. Comfort matters as much as your game play especially when you’re navigating a challenging course at the highest level with the world watching. (And for FootJoy, let’s just say the public company that owns them saw their stock price go up in the news.)
A refocused and top of his game Woods could mean big business for the sport, the companies he endorses and many others. Further endorsements could follow the athlete and “Tigermania” could also inspire other athletes in similar positions to lace up their proverbial boots again. It could all trickle down to job creation and revenue for the sponsors he works with. The financial and psychological impact is quite a force.
What do we have in common with Woods? We’re not considered one of the best athletes to ever walk the face of the earth but we all face challenges. The past few years have been ridiculously hard on us whether — taking a financial, physical, mental— some or all of the above — toll on us. For Woods, his life literally flashed before his eyes. He worked his ass off to get back to where he is. He worked through the pain to compete. We all try to work through pain of some kind. One hopes that Woods’ efforts here—and even if he falters he’s already succeeded by the way— will inspire others in their mid-40s to set and meet a goal.
Life throws many hardballs — hat tip to Major League Baseball for starting their season tomorrow— but we have to keep going. It would’ve been so much easier for Woods to call it a career. But, he’s pushing himself, and in doing so, advancing his sport and possibly his already overflowing wallet even further.
With all that we’ve been dealing with from a global pandemic to political unrest, it’s so important that we focus on persevering to accomplish the things we have set out to do. Play hard. Stay motivated.