On this date, November 27, a decade ago, Tiger Woods performed a manoeuvre in his car that turned out to be so calamitous it made the capers of the Wacky Races resemble a dignified cortege at a state funeral.

It was, without doubt, the worst drive of Tiger’s career. In the wee small hours of that fateful day in 2009, Woods clattered his SUV into a fire hydrant outside his Florida home in the quiet, exclusive, gated estate of Isleworth.

The damage to Woods’ motor cost about £5000. The damage to his reputation could have bankrupted the insurance industry.

Rather like water spewing from one of those aforementioned fire thingymebobs, the aftermath of the collision between Tiger and said hydrant provided the catalyst for the eruption of an unrelenting torrent of sordid stories and tawdry tales that just about led to flood warnings being issued by the Florida Met Office.

The events of that night, which one assumes will not be getting the 10th anniversary treatment in the Woods household today, precipitated the most spectacular downfall in sporting history.


In the days leading up to that seismic stooshie, reports were being circulated about Woods’ extra-curricular activities and lurid liaisons with a variety of mistresses.

“Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumours that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible,” Woods, or least his panicked PR advisers, wrote on his website at the time.

Not long after that, and against a tsunami of juicy revelations and saucy allegations, Woods appeared on television to deliver a jaw-dropping mea culpa that was so excruciating even the cameraman that was filming it had his hands over his eyes.

“I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart,” said a sombre Woods during this very public show of humiliating contrition. “I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect.”

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In the decade since, Tiger lost his wife, his sponsors and his dignity. Woods has endured multiple surgeries and a host of aborted comebacks.

In some quarters, his struggles were almost met with great glee from those who felt he deserved every ounce of turmoil. He has plumbed the kind of depths you’d tend to need a bathysphere to reach yet, through it all, there remained an astonishing level of defiance.

Woods’ victory in April’s Masters, the 15th major win of his career which took him to within three of Jack Nicklaus’s record haul of 18, completed a remarkable redemption As comebacks go, his recovery has probably led to Lazarus taking voluntary redundancy.

A flawed man? Well, we know that. But Woods still belongs in a very small club of genuine icons who transcend sport.


Golf takes on a fresh identity and claims a broader interest when Woods is part of the narrative. That hasn’t changed over 20 years.

A decade ago, Woods was immersed in the infidelity scandal that tossed his image out with the wheelie bins.

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From the grim reaches of personal, professional and physical despair, which saw him hirpling away from events, sliding to 1,119th in the world and having his bloated features captured in a police mugshot following a DUI arrest, Woods has been resurrected.

Through it all, the prospect of competitive golf, however fanciful it seemed to sceptical onlookers, continued to sustain Woods. He retained a deep, unwavering motivation, a remarkable trait given all the ravages.

Not so long ago, Woods was as broken as the fire hydrant he dunted 10 years ago. Now, as he continues to hunt more majors, the Tiger may yet break new golfing ground.