The back pain was excruciating at times, but nothing like the shame.
Tiger Woods had built his own legacy and then knocked it down himself. The awkward public confession of serial infidelity. The police mugshot and videos of a bloated, dazed and confused Woods after his arrest for driving under the influence.
He knew, deep down, he was one of the greats, but his kids could only guess.
Woods was desperate to show them what the old man could do – had done – but his ailing body wouldn’t let him. Even that may have been partly his fault after his punishing weights and fitness regime and fixation on US Navy Seal training, as revealed by former coach Hank Haney in his book “The Big Miss.”
Woods had plenty of injuries before, including multiple knee rebuilds, but he returned from those. But the back was threatening to take him down. At times, he says, he couldn’t walk, couldn’t sit, couldn’t lie down. He missed golf, but most of all he missed playing and fooling around with his children, Sam and Charlie. Of his career, they knew him only as a star on YouTube.
But after an epic Sunday at Augusta, Woods fulfilled two dreams. To get back to the top of a game he had dominated for so long, and to make his kids proud.
“It means the world to me just to have them there, and then now to have them see their Pops win, just like my Pops saw me win here, it’s pretty special,” he said.