They said it was impossible. But when Sunday rolled around they were proven wrong.
It happened last Sunday, the start of Holy Week. It had been ten years since one of sports most decorated and most excoriated heroes, Tiger Woods, had played in a major. At one time regarded as the greatest golfer ever to play the game, he was considered invincible and unbeatable in the eyes of his peers. But in the last ten years Tiger had become a pitied parody of his former self.
On the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 27, 2009, the perfect world of Tiger Woods began to implode around him. It started with a car wreck, pulling out of his own driveway, running over a fire hydrant and into a neighbor’s oak tree. He received a traffic citation for careless driving and a fine of $164. As it turns out, that was merely a preview of things to come.
Allegations of numerous marital infidelities came next. Then his wife left him. He checked into rehab and in February 2010, after a strong rebuke from fellow golfer Tom Watson, Tiger offered a public apology to his wife, friends, family and virtually the whole world at the PGA headquarters in Florida. But the tragedy kept unfolding as sponsors, including Gatorade, Acenture, AT&T and Gillette, dropped him.
In August 2010, the divorce was final and he lost half of everything he had. His ability to play championship caliber golf was obviously affected and suddenly he became a shell of his former self.
Could it get any worse? A neck injury in 2010 followed by a sprained MCL and Achilles in 2011, which got worse in 2012. He had back surgeries in 2014, 2015 and 2017. But May 2017 may have been the low point when he was arrested for DUI. Toxicology reports revealed traces of painkillers, sleep drugs, and an active ingredient found in marijuana. His mug shot, along with the words “former golf superstar,” seemed to suggest he was done.
BUT THEN CAME SUNDAY … LAST SUNDAY.
Sports Illustrated had this headline: “Tiger Roars Again: Golf’s Greatest Comeback Is Complete.” They also wrote of how he’s changed. “This is Sam and Charlie’s dad now: polite, expansive, and grateful … so, so grateful. He tips his cap so often, we can draw his receding hairline from memory. He has stopped having his caddie bark at fans and started filling his rounds with small gestures.” 1
The simple truth of that Sunday and every day since is this: The Master’s Comeback makes ours possible.
We noticed something different about Tiger at a practice round at the Masters last year, when he and Phil Mickelson were walking down the fairway arm in arm to AMEN CORNER. Hundreds stood in the stands applauding … and wiping away tears.
Last Sunday was truly one of the greatest moments in sports history: Tiger won his fifth Masters at the age of 43. What a comeback and what a sight to watch him hug his son, Charlie, daughter, Sam and his mom who’s stayed with him through it all – that's what moms do.
As he walked back to the clubhouse, there was a long line of competitors waiting including Brooks Koepka, Jordan Speith, Xander Schauffele, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson. Even the CBS commentators fought to control their emotions ... as did most of us watching.
Great comebacks in sports are amazing and awe inspiring. But they can’t compare to what happened over 2,000 years ago. People thought it was over. Hope was gone. Dead in the ground.
But when Sunday rolled around they were proven wrong.
The stone was rolled away. The tomb was empty. JESUS was ALIVE!
The simple truth of that Sunday and every day since is this: The Master’s Comeback makes ours possible. The fact HE rose from the dead means you and I have hope and there’s always the possibility of a great redemption story.
No matter who you are or what you’ve done, because of what JESUS did on the cross and the fact He rose from the dead, you can have hope. You can make a comeback even when everyone in your world says it’s impossible.
That’s what we’re celebrating this weekend. The Master’s Comeback ... and yours.
© 2019. Barry L. Cameron
1 “Tiger Roars Again: In Red, in Green, and at Augusta.” SI.com, www.si.com/golf/2019/04/15/tiger-woods-wins-masters-golf-greatest-comeback-green-jacket.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.