Tiger Woods: Lessons From His Comeback

April 18th, 2019 / Hillary K Bainny
| Tiger Woods Celebrates after winning the 2019 Masters

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After a decade-long hiatus in the wilderness, both professionally and personally, Tiger Woods, In dramatic circumstances, claimed the 2019 Masters at Augusta in the United States by one stroke on Sunday 14 April, 2019.

Tiger proved a lesson that should reverberate through boardrooms and offices throughout the world. Tiger Woods is back in the upper echelons of golf.

The lesson: no matter how seemingly massive, every one of your setbacks is just a comeback in disguise.

How and why do some people bounce back with strength from daily setbacks, professional crises, or even intense personal trauma?

Many people had written Woods off before his comeback in the Masters, for which he received the winning prize of $2.07 million (the largest in history). Before Sunday, Woods hadn't won a major tournament in 11 years, and it had been 14 years since he'd won the Masters.

Written off as too old, at the current age of 43 years, to the public eye, he had lost credibility, sponsorships and wealth. However, at a personal level, he did not write self off.

One of the most decorated golfers of all time and a household name in sport, Woods' star began its tumble in 2009 when a personal scandal engulfed his marriage and led to an extremely public divorce. Four years later, Woods missed his first ever Masters tournament with a back surgery that started a tailspin.

Tiger endured several surgeries, persisted through insane amounts of doubt from the media, and friends telling him to retire.  Things didn’t look good two years ago. For most people, this kind of crippling pain and criticism would have been too much to overcome.

But Tiger Woods isn’t most people. His comeback story shows that at 43-years-old, he is just getting started. If you’re in a slump or suffering in your life, I promise you can make a comeback too.

After failing repeatedly to win at the highest levels, disbelief and self-doubt in his own ability set in. “I had serious doubts after what transpired a couple of years ago,” Woods said after his fourth surgery. “I could barely walk. I could not sit. I could not lie down. I really could not do much of anything. To have the opportunity to come back like this is probably one of the biggest wins I’ve ever had for sure because of it.” 

In all probability, only a few people experience such a setback and still come out strong.

Woods was arrested for driving under the influence in 2017, and he quickly checked himself into addiction rehab. If the majority of fans hadn't written off Woods' once-brilliant career as a total loss already, it was hard to find anyone who expected Woods to win another tournament period, let alone one as massive as the Masters.

Never Give Up

As Vince Lombardi said, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” And Tiger Woods didn’t quit, even when people were telling he was done. He kept pushing through failure, defeat, and insane amounts of physical pain to get back to the winner circle. After five years of managing injuries, he found a way to make it happen.

If you’re down and out you can’t give up. You can’t give in. You have to dig down deep and gut it out to find the drive to succeed. Find strong reasons why you must succeed and to commit to not giving up until you succeed.

Unconquerable Mindset

Tiger’s story proves the value of mindset, and how an unconquerable mind can overcome anything. And the incredible news is that the path Woods took to his unbelievable comeback is available to you today. All you have to do is decide.

You can follow Tiger's lead by engineering your own comeback from any situation you face: a lost job, a missed promotion, a divorce, a failed project.

Focus and Determination

Nobody had more excuse to shrink into the shadows than Woods. He'd been battered in the public eye (sometimes for good reason), and he heard time and time again that his career was over. His mentality was shattered. He was too old. But he knew he was a champion and had to focus on being champion again.

He no-doubt visualized himself holding that green jacket thousands of times before he actually did it. Just the same, you can't achieve that next level of success if you don't have a positive self-image of yourself doing it in your own mind. Your mind is your own greatest ally. Use it wisely.

Germany, which lost the two world wars, has emerged today as the fourth largest economy in the world behind the US, China and Japan, with a GDP of $3.48 trillion. There is more of this with individuals.

After his imprisonment, for 27 years, Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the president of South Africa in 1994, the first black to hold the office. Remarkably, he did only one term in office. 

Obama, the 44th US president (2009-2017), braved all odds to become the first black US president.

Break your habit loop

The habit loop forms around three steps: a trigger, a response and a reward. Woods' addiction (Tiger Woods has checked himself into rehab for addiction to prescription painkillers, as he attempts to avoid losing custody of his two children.) was forming a negative habit loop in his life. He'd experience pain or stress and he'd respond with painkillers, and his reward was briefly eliminating that pain. But he was numbing it, not dealing with it, and that only compounded the problem.

So he broke his negative habit loop and replaced it with something more positive. He got help. He still felt the trigger, and he still got a positive reward, but his response now wasn't to turn to addiction-forming chemicals. His response was turning to more beneficial things that built him up instead of tearing him down. Recognize in your life where your responses to external triggers aren't serving you.

All that said, Tiger’s resurgence offers an indubitable lesson that with determination, focus, persistence and sacrifice, man can face the most daunting odds and still come out tops.

Woods is such!!!!

This is partly why he is receiving adulation from a broad spectrum of lovers of the sport, including his fellow competitors. Among the first to felicitate with him are American President, Donald Trump, and his immediate predecessor, Barrack Obama. Many more sports figures and celebrities joined the chorus.

To show that he transcends sports and business, the shares of Nike, a company he endorses for $200 million jumped 0.5 per cent to $86.65 in pre-market trading the day after his victory.

Lastly, President Trump, who is an avid fan of golf, a sport he is known to play regularly, including on frequent trips to the multiple golf properties he owns, announced Monday that he will award Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom after his win Sunday at the Masters.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is one of the nation’s highest civilian awards and is bestowed upon those who have made “especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Success begets Success. 

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