What we can learn from Tiger Woods’ remarkable comeback from his demons. Nine steps to perseverance and redemption.

With a slight tap to his putter on the final green, a small white ball rolls into the hole. The crowd lets out a deafening roar. A fist punches the air in victory. Tiger Woods has just won his fifth Masters tournament.

At the age of 43, Tiger Woods is more than a legend who has climbed the golf championship ladder to dizzying heights—starting with being the youngest winner of the Masters at the age of 21. Tiger’s wins include the US PGA Championship, US Open and Open Championship. He now holds fifteen major titles. His recent Masters’ victory was nothing short of remarkable, considered one of the greatest comeback stories in sporting history.

Life was good for Tiger until it was not.

For the last decade, Tiger battled mounting golf injuries. Crashed into a fire hydrant in the wee hour of the morning. Endured public shame for his infidelity that led to his divorce. Got a DUI, was fined and had to do community service. Drugs for back injuries messed him up. Eventually had to undergo four surgeries—any of which could have ended his golf career. He could barely walk, sit or lay down. His ranking plummeted to 1,199th in 2017.  With all this going on, the professional golfers’ community basically wrote off Tiger.

Then in 2018, after healing from a spinal infusion, Tiger’s life started turning around. He was gaining more confidence as he was winning tournament after tournament. Cut to today, where he is once again wearing the laurel of victory, earning his first Masters in fourteen years, and the first Major in eleven.

Never give up. That’s a given. You always fight. Just giving up is never in the equation.

Tiger’s comeback was more than a physical one. It was mental as well, especially after hitting rock bottom. One sports commentator observed that we are now seeing a better version of Tiger. One that…

Plays with joy.

Chips out when he is in trouble.

Plays for safety,

and still wins.

Though what can we learn from watching Tiger? Well, a lot about perseverance and redemption.

After declaring that he was “done” at the Masters’ dinner a couple of years ago, Tiger progressively worked himself out of the bottom of the hole he was in to emerge as a winner.

I think Tiger summed up his newfound spotlight best in a recent interview with The Guardian.

“Never give up. That’s a given. You always fight. Just giving up is never in the equation.”

This reversal of fortune is an incredible story about perseverance.

So how can you apply Tiger’s story to your life?

  1. Ask what in your life needs a turn-around?
  2. Identify who you need to make amends with, even if it just with yourself?
  3. Genuinely make amends.
  4. Take action every day towards making your amazing comeback.
  5. Start with small steps.
  6. Chip out when you are in trouble.
  7. Celebrate your wins to build your confidence.
  8. Forgive your loses, and instead prize yourself for trying.
  9. Never give up.

Tiger Woods is an inspiration to what it means to look adversity in the face and take it on squarely. He may have been down for a long while. However, he was not out. This fight to keep in the game, however, you define it for yourself, and especially if you love it, is something we can all learn to do. Take it from the man sporting a new “Masters Green” jacket.