For Tiger Woods, it was a convincing comeback. After a again harm that had appeared destined to finish his profession, he gained the Masters Tournament in 2019, an exciting return to type that captivated the nation.
But after a yr of suits and begins that yielded no main victories, he introduced final month that he had undergone one other spinal process that may hold him out of competitors till later this yr.
Then got here the single-vehicle accident on Tuesday in which his S.U.V. ran off the highway and landed on a hillside close to Los Angeles, inflicting leg accidents that required Mr. Woods to endure hours of surgical procedure.
It was one other devastating episode for Mr. Woods — who burst onto the nationwide scene as a toddler and is the best golfer of his era — and raises questions on his potential to make yet one more comeback.
In latest years, Mr. Woods, who has gained 15 main championships, second in the game’s historical past to Jack Nicklaus’s 18, has talked extensively concerning the limitations his earlier surgical procedures and accidents have prompted.
They have severely decreased the period of time he can observe and have typically disrupted the circulation and energy of a as soon as revered golf swing. For a number of of the previous few seasons, Mr. Woods may very well be seen wincing after each few photographs, and he steadily struggled to retrieve his golf ball from the cup after finishing a gap.
His accident incited an outpouring throughout sports activities and past.
On Twitter, Mr. Nicklaus wrote of his and his spouse’s anguish. “Barbara and I simply heard about Tiger’s accident, and like everybody else, we’re deeply involved,’’ Nicklaus’s submit mentioned. “We need to supply him our heartfelt help and prayers at this tough time. Please be a part of us in wishing Tiger a profitable surgical procedure and all the very best for a full restoration.”
Justin Thomas, a trusted confidant of Mr. Woods who steadily joins him for pretournament observe rounds, appeared shocked by the information.
“I’m sick to my abdomen,” Thomas mentioned as he ready for the Workday Championship, a PGA Tour occasion in Central Florida set to start Thursday. “It hurts to see one in all your closest mates get in an accident. I simply hope he is all proper. I’m simply fearful for his youngsters, I’m positive they’re struggling.”
The incident occurred about 7 a.m. Pacific time close to the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, a coastal Los Angeles suburb, on a twisting and winding stretch the place the pace restrict is 45 m.p.h. Two days earlier, Mr. Woods had hosted a PGA Tour occasion on the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles and stayed to tape a promotional spot for Golf Digest.
Mr. Woods was not impaired, although he was touring at a “better pace than regular,” Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles County sheriff, mentioned at a information convention.
Mr. Woods misplaced management of the car on Hawthorne Boulevard, hitting a curb and a tree earlier than rolling a number of instances, the sheriff mentioned.
“That space has a excessive frequency of accidents,” Mr. Villanueva mentioned. “It’s not unusual.”
With 82 PGA Tour victories, Mr. Woods is tied for essentially the most ever with Sam Snead.
But Mr. Woods has been hobbled by accidents in latest years. He has had 5 main again operations and three knee operations, which have derailed his potential to compete for years at a time.
His accidents in the automobile accident would appear to create a considerable impediment to returning to full type, a prospect already in query forward of the Masters in April.
In 2009, on the height of a profession in which Mr. Woods was anticipated to demolish each file in his sport, information reviews about serial marital infidelity price him his marriage, and he was shunned by many in the golf neighborhood. In swift succession, his myriad company sponsors dropped him. The scandal prompted him to take a prolonged hiatus from golf. When he returned to competitors, he struggled to search out his old type, a complication that coincided with the onset of his bodily illnesses.
On the identical golf programs the place he had lengthy been greeted by wild cheering, his presence was as a substitute met with an eerie quiet. As time handed, being snubbed was removed from Mr. Woods’s solely downside at tournaments. He was typically considered as a limping afterthought. A younger breed of golfers now managed the highest of the leaderboard.
His downfall finally had a defining act, a middle-of-the-night arrest in May 2017 that exposed an opioid dependancy. Mr. Woods was taken into custody by the police after he was discovered alone and asleep in his automobile on the aspect of a highway with the engine working.
Typical of his profession arc, Mr. Woods’s resurrection ended up being as dramatic and attention-grabbing.
At the 2019 Masters, golf’s most watched occasion, Mr. Woods was not one of many pretournament favorites to win however he grew to become a final-round contender. In the crucible of the occasion’s closing holes, as his rivals withered below the stress, Mr. Woods discovered the internal resolve that had been his trademark. He birdied 4 of the ultimate 5 holes to assert his fifth Masters title. When his closing putt dropped, he celebrated with a primal scream that gave the impression to be matched by the hundreds of followers encircling the 18th inexperienced.
Just two years earlier, Mr. Woods had ranked as little as 1,119th in the world. His comeback, particularly contemplating his travails off the course, might have been the best in sports activities historical past.
Leaving the inexperienced, Mr. Woods lifted his son, Charlie, and his daughter, Sam, into his arms — a gesture that was a close to repeat of the embrace Mr. Woods’s father, Earl, had given his son after the 1997 Masters, Mr. Woods’s first main victory.
He continued to be aggressive together with his friends in 2019, winning one more event, however the pandemic-shortened 2020 golf season came about with Mr. Woods typically absent. Other than a tie for ninth in mid-January, he didn’t end greater than a tie for thirty seventh and appeared in simply 10 occasions.
Mr. Woods has not performed competitively since December. In January, he underwent a process on his again known as a microdiscectomy, which was carried out to take away a pressurized disc fragment that was pinching a nerve. On Sunday, whereas appearing because the host of the Genesis Invitational PGA Tour occasion in Southern California, Mr. Woods was interviewed in the course of the broadcast of the match. He mentioned he had begun practising and appeared comfy, smiling and joking with CBS announcers about his progress from the latest operation. But he provided no timetable for his return to aggressive golf.
The Masters, although, remained central on Mr. Woods’s calendar. Asked whether or not he would compete in the occasion in April, Mr. Woods replied: “God, I hope so. I’ve bought to get there first.” He added that he was “feeling advantageous, just a little bit stiff” and was awaiting one other M.R.I. scan to guage his progress. In the meantime, he mentioned, he had been “nonetheless doing the mundane stuff that you must do for rehab, the little issues earlier than you can begin gravitating towards one thing just a little extra.”
Mr. Woods conceded that surgeons might have solely so many extra methods to assist him. “This is the one again I’ve bought,” he mentioned. “I haven’t got rather more wiggle room there.”
At the pandemic-delayed Masters in November, Mr. Woods tied for thirty eighth place. In the wake of the ultimate spherical of the occasion, he mentioned of his bodily infirmities: “No matter how arduous I attempt, issues simply do not work the best way they used to. And regardless of how a lot I push and ask of this physique, it simply does not work at instances.”
At the Rolling Hills Country Club close to Los Angeles on Monday, footage on social media confirmed Mr. Woods interacting with numerous celebrities, together with the previous N.B.A. participant Dwyane Wade. During the operate, Mr. Woods gave gamers golf suggestions and a few instruction however was not swinging a golf membership.
Douglas Morino, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Alan Blinder, Kevin Draper and Gillian R. Brassil contributed reporting.