If like me, you were watching the US Masters this weekend and thinking to yourself could this be the year, you were probably also thinking no chance, Tiger’s had his time.
Since US golfer Tiger Woods returned to the professional golf circuit, every one of his supposed comebacks has failed to materialise. Many people including me thought that it would be these latter years that would define his legacy. Plagued by his past transgressions, his divorce, his sex addiction, the road ahead for Tiger looked very bleak. In recent years some commentators even suggested it was time for Tiger to retire with some hope that his early days would be the lasting memory.
Let’s not forget Tiger as the young boy pictured with his dad using a set of cut down clubs. Let’s not forget the young amateur, his eyes set on the full set of golfing majors. Let’s not forget the emergence of Tiger Woods in the 1990’s and his dominance of this sport in the following years. Remember he won the US Master in 2008 with a broken leg.
Tigers, against the odds, win on Sunday is a story that all of society needs. The comeback of all comebacks was what we witnessed last weekend.
I’ve wrestled with the Tiger story for some time now. His character had been called into question and for me character is all important. Witnessing Tigers win at the weekend I was captured by the way he acted after sinking that final putt. I saw a changed man. I saw a man who appeared to value the relationships he clearly has in his life. He embraced his fellow players, his friends and family in a way that I hadn’t really seen before. The once ‘let no-one in’ Tiger, has evolved into a person that clearly values connection. His hugs and embraces with his young children further added to my delight.
We as a species need to see these come-back stories. We need to see that we can all spring back from adversity. We will all experience loss and tragedy in our lives. We need to know that it won’t all be black.
A few years ago, I spent some time with Suicide prevention campaigner Jonny Benjamin. He recalled the day that he was contemplating his own suicide on a London bridge. At this dark time, it took one person to say to Jonny that it wouldn’t always be this bad. This sense of hope inspired Jonny and also meant that I was able to spend some time, learning more about his experiences.
Hope is a clear antidote for these issues. We all need hope in our lives. We needed that Tiger comeback.
I know in the past Tiger has presented us with another side of his character. It’s one that I thought about after his victory. However, I am a person who believes in second chances and I truly think Tiger needs a chance to redeem himself.
I don’t think that his win is purely down to his ability. I truly think it is much bigger than just this. His grit, his determination to get back on top has led to him transforming as a person. As I said I saw a different Tiger on Sunday.
The All Blacks rugby team have an equation for sustained performance.
PERFORMANCE = ABILITY + CHARACTER
The use of the word character extends to both on and off the field. They suggest you may be the best rugby player but if your character doesn’t match, you won’t sustain this. Tigers character has been questioned in the past. I’m sure it will continue to be questioned but I now sense something different.
When I work with young people and adults in schools, universities, in prisons and in sports with sports I suggest that our personal brand (our character) lives inside us. Every morning we wake up the question should be “what can I do to impact positively on my brand?”
Tiger – The world is both watching and wanting more.