The Tiger Woods car crash is the latest major event in a career that has seen scintillating athletic highs as well as painful personal lows.
The 45-year-old suffered serious injuries to both legs after he rolled his car into a dramatic crash in Los Angeles on Tuesday – leaving some wondering if he will ever be able to return to the sport.
But after decades of ups and downs throughout the athlete’s career, it was perhaps former President Barack Obama who summed it up best: “If we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s never to count Tiger. “
Here, we take a look at the ups and downs that Woods has faced in his decades-long career.
1990s – First big victory
The young Tiger woods grabbed attention when he played his first major championship at the 1995 Masters at just 19 and as an amateur. He finished tied for 41st – becoming the only amateur to make the cut.
At 20, he turned professional and became an immediate star. Pairing up with defending champion Nick Faldo at the 1997 Masters, Woods set a tournament record of 18 under par.
In the space of two months, he was world number one for the first time, spending a record 683 weeks at the top of the table.
2000/2001 – The Tiger Slam
Nicknamed the Tiger Slam, Woods became the only player to hold all four major golf titles at once on April 8, 2001.
He scored a record 15-stroke victory at the 2000 US Open before winning the Open Championship by eight strokes a month later.
Woods went on to successfully defend his American PGA Championship title in August 2000 and went on to win the 2001 Masters tournament – completing his Tiger Slam.
2006 – Death of his father
Five years later, tragedy struck Woods lost his father Earl.
The retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel was the biggest influence on his son’s career, with the young Tiger imitating his father’s swing at just six months old.
Woods returned to action at the US Open after taking nine weeks off to mourn, but ended up missing the cut in a major for the first time as a professional.
2008 – Victory of the US Open
This year, Woods was in great shape and won his first four events of the season.
But it was his electric victory at the US Open that is remembered the most, as the golfer kicked off the victory despite two stress fractures to his tibia and a knee that needed surgical reconstruction a week later. .
Many will remember his 12-foot birdie putt that forced an 18-hole playoff series with Rocco Mediate – and his subsequent reaction.
2009/10 – Personal scandal
The peak of his US Open victory quickly gave way to perhaps some of the player’s darker days, when accusations of infidelity began to swirl in November 2009.
Two days later, Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant, tree and several hedges near his home.
The golfer then revealed that he had undergone 45 days of ‘hospital therapy receiving counseling for the issues I am facing’, before admitting to cheating on his wife Elin Nordegren.
Nordegren was going to divorce in August 2010.
2010s – Injuries
For the first time in his professional career – and possibly because of his personal struggles – Woods didn’t win a tournament in 2010.
He managed to recover victories in 2013, winning five times to once again become world number one.
But during this time, he suffered from back problems which often left him wincing in pain or forced to withdraw from events completely.
It had looked like the golfer’s career was over when he told Jack Nicklaus “I’m done” at a dinner before the 2017 Masters, but shortly thereafter, Woods underwent spinal fusion surgery that went wrong. has proven to be a success.
2017 – DUI
Although the success of his surgery gave hope for a return to his glittering career, Woods hit another low in his personal life in 2017 when he was arrested for driving under the influence.
He was found asleep while driving his car and it later emerged that he had five prescription drugs in his system.
After plead guilty to reckless driving, he spent 11 months on probation.
2019 – Another Masters victory
Some 3,954 days since winning the US Open, Woods won its 15th major title and fifth green jacket of the 83rd Masters. He is considered one of the greatest sports comebacks of all time.
2021 – Car accident
The 45-year-old was in rehabilitation following his fifth back surgery in January, but he was considering returning to action.
When asked if he would be in shape in time for this year’s Masters, Woods told reporters, “God, I hope so.”
But his crash on Tuesday will likely have ended his hopes of competing this year.