The day people cease talking about the 2019 Masters performance we saw from Tiger Woods may never arrive.
Woods earned his first major win in nearly 11 years this past Sunday and his performance resulted in an outpouring of adoration from the entire sports world. One golf fan enamoured with Woods’s accomplishment was none other than basketball icon Michael Jordan.
“I’m pretty sure he questioned himself, whether he could get it back, and he had to put a lot of work in. But he took it head-on,” Jordan told David Aldridge of The Athletic. “He had to change his game; he had to change his perspective a little bit. To me, it was the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen.”
Woods won 14 majors between 1997 and 2008 before multiple injuries — including several that required him to undergo significant back surgery — as well as personal transgressions derailed his dominance. The 43-year-old was a complete non-factor at majors between 2014 and 2017, before a strong showing at the 2018 Open Championship and a second-place finish at the PGA Championship.
Staunch Woods supporters always held onto the hope that he could regain his form and threaten to move closer to Jack Nicklaus’s record 18 major championship wins. Many, however, had serious doubts. Earning his fifth career Green Jacket proved the doubters wrong.
Jordan knows a thing or two about lengthy layoffs and returning to the top of his sport, too. The Chicago Bulls legend took a two-year hiatus from his NBA career in the mid-1990s to pursue a minor-league baseball career.
Jordan’s hiatus was sandwiched between two runs of back-to-back-to-back NBA titles, but he never had the type of injury setbacks Woods has battled through.
“I took two years off to play baseball, but nothing like that,” Jordan added. “I never thought he’d get back physically. He didn’t think he’d get back physically. But he did it. No one expected him to be back the way he is now. He’s probably the only person who believed he could get back. To me, that’s a major accomplishment. To me, it’s unbelievable. Mentally, you always think you can. But you can’t answer to what your body has to deal with.”