Jack Nicklaus, known as golf’s GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), wears an artificial hip today. A result of wear and tear—the hip being the most abused part of the body with every stroke we make.
Nicklaus’ all-time best of 18 majors is three more than the 15 of Tiger Woods. At 46, Nicklaus won the 1986 Masters. He is 81 now. Thankfully, he is still going strong.
When Tiger Woods won the Masters in 1997 for his first majors victory, Nicklaus said: “There’s the kid who’s going to break my record.”
Woods was just 21 then, the youngest ever to win the world’s most prestigious golf event.
And he punctuated his pro debut with a record winning margin of 12 strokes.
Woods would win the Masters three more times in 2001, 2002 and 2005. It was not until 14 years later, in 2019 at age 43, that he’d prevail again.
And it was because Woods went from one tragedy to another, triggered mostly by injuries to body and, yes, soul.
When his multiple infidelities were exposed, Woods lost his wife that also cost him a US$100 million alimony.
His game would take a grievous dive, followed by his left leg collapsing that needed five knee surgeries. Disoriented and virtually self-destructing, he was arrested for drunken driving and eventually went into rehab.
But he proved—is proving—to be a story of courage and fightback.
After years of trying to crawl back to his scenes of glory, he’d win again. In 2019, he captured his fifth Masters.
Before that, he won the Tour Championship, tying the 82 PGAs for the most victories in history.
But, alas, just recently, Woods had his back repaired. Again. It was to remove a pressurized disc fragment that gave him nerve pain during a tournament last month that he played with his 11-year-old son, Charlie.
It marked the fifth time since 2014 that Woods’ back went under the knife. Twice more in 2015. After surviving the fourth in 2017, Woods won twice in 2018 and 2019.
The pandemic made 2020 golf uneventful.
And with Woods down again, will 2021 be any different for the sport we all love?
ERRATUM: It is Nesthy Petecio and not Irish Magno who goes to the June boxing qualifiers for the July Tokyo Olympics. Irish is in.