Tiger Woods has experienced some of the brightest professional accomplishments and darkest setbacks in his legendary career. Nonetheless, the recent car crash in California puts the future career of one of the most recognized athletes on the planet in limbo. There may be more surgeries to repair damage to the 45-year-old Woods’ legs, one of which just had a rod and screws as well as a muscle covering release procedure believed to save his leg from amputation.
The winner of 15 golf majors has had several medical procedures in recent years, including five back surgeries (one with a spinal fusion). The father of young children at the time was in such pain at times that he was unable to get out of bed to play with his children.
The golfer’s tragic falls have been splashed all over the media. There was serial infidelity to his former wife and mother to his children, culminating in an earlier car crash. There was also an addiction to opioid pain killers prescribed by doctors to deal with back pain. Then a DUI charge in 2017 for driving while on painkillers.
Redemption came when he won the Master’s in 2019 after an 11-year drought at the majors. It is already regarded as one of the great sports career comebacks ever mounted. That brings his total to 15 majors and dozens of other championships.
Nothing is sacred
This incredible trajectory prompted some to shake their heads. CNN reporter Andy Scholes went a step further by kicking a legend who survived a brutal accident when he said that he was “not entirely surprised” that the golfer was involved in another serious car crash. Scholes almost immediately needed apologizing as an onslaught of criticism took him to task for insensitive and irresponsible journalism. It appears that Woods was in a true accident without drugs or reckless behavior in play.
Athletes pay the price
The metric is often the bigger the star athlete, the higher standard they are held to. Of course, these athletes are human and lead extremely complex lives. Woods has other more important things to worry about than Scholes’ comments, but this response at the top of the media food chain reveals how difficult it is to be a sports legend.
Unfortunately, the cameras don’t turn off when the game ends. It is important to remember this the next time someone takes a cheap shot at an athlete for a misstep the average person would not pay so dear a price for.