Comebacks: Inspiration from Tiger Woods
“The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.” - Vince Lombardi
The golf world had one of its most magical moments in recent years when Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia on September 24. He led the tournament from start to finish and it marked his first win in five years.
Tiger’s stroll up the 18th fairway to the green is nothing short of “instant classic” status. It was in a word - stunning.
Tiger’s comeback has been a long time in the making. You know his story and you are aware of the headlines, no need to rehash it all here. His public fall from grace was just as iconic as his comeback. His was a messy humanity on display for the world to see. Add to that four back surgeries and his comeback defied the odds of many who thought it was not possible.
We live in times when creating and building up our heroes only to tear them down is done for sport. It’s a time in which the voices of redemption and grace are drowned out by the screams of the mob.
“What you see and what you hear,” wrote C.S. Lewis, “depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
Maybe this is the introspection we need in times like these.
Maybe Tiger’s triumphant walk up the 18th fairway in some small way gave inspiration to those facing their own setbacks and defeats and gave encouragement to never give up. Maybe in him they caught a glimpse of themselves as they wish to be - knocked down, battered, broken, but back. Could this be you?
As you read this you may be dealing with your own set of struggles and private battles and you may be wondering if the struggle is worth it. Here are a few simple takeaways from Tiger’s return. It could be a blueprint for yours.
NEVER GIVE UP
Tiger’s winless drought lasted five years. While four back surgeries kept him sidelined and not playing at a level he was accustomed to, he found his way back. Not by listening to the voices of those who said he’d never return, but by listening to his heart and never giving up. Your comeback begins with your mind-set. It begins by determining that your present location is not your final stop.
FIGHT THROUGH THE PAIN
Even by his own admission, Tiger thought he would not return to golf. Back in 2015, he said, “There’s really nothing I can look forward to, nothing I can build towards.” The pain Tiger endured on his way back was at times unbearable and debilitating. But he pressed on through the pain. Your comeback may be painful as well, but nothing worth fighting will always come easy. You may be experiencing growing pains right now, but find your strength for today and fight through the pain one day at a time.
TIGHTEN YOUR CIRCLE
As C.S. Lewis said, you have to know what you see and what you hear. When making your comeback, you must tighten your circle and be mindful of the voices you are listening to.
Woods acknowledged this saying, “You know, the people who are close to me saw the struggles and what I was going through, and some of the players I’m pretty close to, they’ve really helped me throughout this process and the last few years.”
On your comeback journey, you have to know who’s in your corner and who’s not.
Making a comeback will require more than what has been addressed here. These are just starting points. But you must never give up, you will have to fight through the pain, and you will need to tighten your circle. Not everyone who speaks into your life belongs in your life. Be open, be receptive, but by all means be wise. Your comeback depends on it.
©2018 Doug Dickerson