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The life of Tiger Woods has so many meanders that inevitably some end up imposing on others in the fight to occupy our memory. Since that Masters of 1997 we have seen him tread the top, fall crashingly into a vaudeville of revelry and wild sex, destroy his family and his body and rise from his own ashes.
Everything that happened off the field, the nights in Las Vegas with Jordan and Barkley, the escorts, Rachel Uchitel, the divorce from Elin Nordgren, is the common thread of the second part of Tiger the Unauthorized HBO documentary about him, which premiered this Monday in Spain. But there is also room for the golfer Tiger, who in the temporal space covered by the chapter did something absolutely insane, a madness beyond the reach of anyone other than him: winning the US Open with a shattered knee.
This is 2008. Two years after the death of his father Earl, the man who ‘programmed’ him to reign, Tiger is riding high. He has 13 majors in 12 years as a professional, the brands have made him one of the highest paid athletes in the world and he has been happily married to Elin Nordgren for four years. Although by then she also leads the double life of excesses and extramarital affairs (also influenced by Earl, a womanizer) that will be uncovered shortly after.
The loss of his great reference affects Tiger deeply, who takes refuge from pain training with the special forces of the US Army. It’s a way to honor him, as Earl served with the Green Berets in Vietnam (he even thought about quitting golf to enlist). But the physical wear and tear of the hostage rescue maneuvers, hand-to-hand fighting, etc. in which he participates suppose an excessive punishment for an already battered body after years of comings and goings.
A medical examination reveals the complete absence of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. But Tiger doesn’t want to stop. He keeps training and ends up with two broken leg. Doctors say it will take time in the dry dock. Tiger doesn’t slow down either. You need to get a little closer to Nicklaus’ 18 greats.
So he goes to Torrey Pines for the 108th edition of the US Open very depressed.. It’s Thursday, January 13, and he’s on the 1st tee. He takes his explosive swing and his face twists into a wince as the ball goes off the fairway to the left. What follows is a sequence of misconceptions and misconceptions that baffles audiences and television commentators. His caddy at the time, Steve Williams, asks him to quit. “You are risking your career,” he warns him. “That j … n, I’m going to win this tournament”, answers the Tiger.
So it was. The military discipline that Earl injected him, so pernicious in other aspects of his life, allowed him to overcome the pain and focus only on the ball. Between Friday and Saturday he left a string of impossible blows, signed a -4 (in a US Open, with one leg) and led Sunday. He would end up tying with Rocco Mediate, whom he defeated on the first hole of the playoff.
It was kind of like the Jordan fever game, but for five hours a day four days in a row. “I looked at him and thought, what the hell are you doing? I came to believe that maybe he was immortal. When you were close to him you felt something special. That you couldn’t hide, that you were facing the best”, Mediate tells. Certainly Tiger was for a time, stories like this are proof, immortal. Until a Florida tabloid, the National Enquirer, lowered him to the ground.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.