It’s easy to think that golf is mostly a mental game. Sure, there is a physical component as well, but once you reach the highest level, golf is much more like a chess match than a test of physical endurance.
But when you’re in severe pain, it’s hard to be mentally tough. And for over eight years, Tiger Woods has been playing through excruciating physical pain with his back.
Yesterday, in winning the Tour Championship, Tiger wrote what is possibly the most important chapter in his career.
But let’s back up for a moment. Tiger started playing professional golf in 1996. Let’s put this in context. President Clinton was just been re-elected. Michael Jordan was back in the NBA after a brief baseball hiatus and is back to slam dunking the competition. The Nintendo N64 was just released. The internet is still not used in many homes and won’t be for another couple of years.
One Of The Most Dominate Athletes In the World
When Tiger went pro, he immediately signed endorsement deals with Nike and Titleist. He went on to win PGA Rookie of the Year and Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. And then he started to win and win and win.
Tiger had the million dollar smile and arrogance that we all love (whether we like to admit it or not) in a winner. He brought a flash of youth and excitement to the sport. For most of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, make no mistake, Tiger took over the sports world.
The Lowest of Lows
But then everything came crashing down. Injuries. Many extramarital affairs with countless women. A very public divorce. An arrest for being under the influence on painkillers.
For many years, it appeared Tiger was done. His greatness had faded, and we would never see him win again. Sure, his name would pop up every now and then in the sports world, but for the most part, life moved on and became a cautionary tale of another pro athlete who faded into obscurity.
But Tiger had different plans. Tiger simply refused to quit. In all, Tiger has had four back surgeries. And continues to come back for more. It’s easy to look at the highlight reels, but the behind the scenes dedication and hard work are truly what separate the average and good from great.
Tiger’s victory secures the redemption story that we all craved. The story of a world-class athlete going from the top to the bottom and to the top again. Tiger’s comeback is not just his victory; it’s ours too as spectators and fans. It serves as a reminder that the words difficult and even impossible can be overcome.
The Real Takeaway For You
We all struggle. We all have problems. We're all in some kind of pain. And yet, we still want to come out on top in the end. When we see Tiger winning again, we feel better about ourselves as his story serves as an example for each of us. We all want to climb our own personal Mount Everest. Maybe it’s writing a book, starting a business, or getting in shape. Whatever the goal, it is something that is difficult.
Great stories require conflict. Most of the time, they require a lot of serious conflict.
Don’t chalk up Tiger’s victory as simply a “nice story.” Instead, take some time to really hone in on what it is you really want in your life. You’ve let countless obstacles and challenges stop you before in the past, right? We all have. Stop settling. Don’t give up. Keep moving forward. You can do it. You can endure and come back on top. If you're still breathing, you still have time to make a difference.