CBS News April 15, 2019, 7:35 AM After "serious doubts," Tiger Woods completes long road back to glory at Masters
Tiger Woods' road to becoming the 2019 Masters champion was paved with a long list of personal struggles. His win at Augusta National Golf Club Sunday was 14 years in the making, and marks a new chapter in the golfer's life.
It also could turn the page after controversies led to the loss of sponsorships and support.
From the moment Woods burst on the scene he moved the needle like few can, with his electric smile and will to win. It's what drew sponsors like Nike to him.
Despite adversity on and off the course, Nike's belief in Woods never wavered.
And yesterday was reason for both to celebrate as Woods, at age 43, proved his doubters wrong, reports "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-host Dana Jacobson.
It was 1997 when a baby-faced, 21-year-old Tiger Woods exploded onto the scene at the Masters, changing the way golf was played, and watched, forever. It was his first of 14 major wins over the next 12 years. His sparkling, bulletproof image put him at the top of elite athletes in American sports. But Woods' unflappability crumbled at the end of 2009. His single-car accident on Thanksgiving night led to questions about his personal life.
He later admitted to being unfaithful to his wife, model Elin Nordegren, and the two had a public and messy divorce. "I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in," he said in February 2010.
Woods took a short break from golf and lost a number of major sponsors, including Gatorade and AT&T.
Then, injuries began to creep in. He dropped to his knees in pain during the final round of the Barclays in August 2013. Four back surgeries sapped him of his strength and flawless swing.
And in May 2017, shortly after surgery, police in Florida arrested Woods after finding him asleep at the wheel of his car. Toxicology reports found a number of prescription pain killers and sleep medications in his system.
Woods stayed the course, finally reaching the winner's circle again last September, prevailing in the PGA Tour Championship five years after his last victory.
Now he is a reigning Masters champion, adding a fifth green jacket to his already legendary collection.
"I had serious doubts after what transpired a couple of years ago," Woods said yesterday. "I could just barely walk. I was very fortunate to be given another chance to do something that I love to do."
CBS Sports' Jim Nantz said Woods' comeback transcends the game of golf. "For him to pull it off on this stage, where so much of his life and his triumph of moments have been exposed to the world, I think it was a very sweet moment," he said.
And speaking of sweet moments, Nike's tribute ad to him, released right after the win, shows a very young Tiger talking Masters. Nike says it had the ad ready to go for several years – it was just waiting for that major victory.