Tiger Woods, Second Chances and Grace

After a 5-year hiatus from a PGA victory, Tiger Woods is back on top of the golfing world.

This weekend at East Lake Golf Club, Tiger Woods won the 2018 Tour Championship and claimed the 80th professional victory of his illustrious career.

Woods was the dominate force on the PGA Tour in the late 90s and early 2000s. He completely revolutionized the game of golf with his powerful swing and fierce competitiveness. But in late 2009, Woods’ life began to unravel. After he admitted to numerous affairs, his life came under national scrutiny. In the months that followed, we saw one of the most successful American athletes of all-time fall from grace.

He separated from his wife, Elin Nordegren, and took some time away from professional golf to enter a 45-day rehab. In addition to his personal unraveling, Woods lost millions of dollars in sponsorship endorsements as many of the brands refused to continue their affiliation.

The man who seemed to have it all lost it all in a matter of months.

In 2010, Tiger Woods returned to professional golf but his game wasn’t the same. After amassing 71 victories in the previous thirteen seasons, Woods only managed 8 victories from 2010 to 2017—skipping the 2016 and 2017 seasons altogether to undergo major back surgery. In the summer of 2017, Tiger was arrested for driving under the influence and his mugshot appeared on every major news outlet across the country.

It seemed as if his career was officially over.

However, Tiger returned to competitive play in 2018 with a new swing and newfound success. His play improved with each start and it looked as if some of the old spark had returned. Tiger’s rise to the championship stage was completed this weekend making it one of the greatest comeback stories in sports history.

Second Chances

At East Lake, the world watched Tiger Woods walk down the 18th fairway as thousands of spectators flooded in behind him. Even Tiger said that he was trying not to tear up. That moment was epic—unlike anything I’ve ever seen in the history of sports.

But why? Why was everyone so captivated by Tiger’s return?

The answer is simple:

We love second chances.

Deep down, we love a good comeback story. It’s endearing to the human spirit to see those who are willing to push through adversity and press toward greatness. The tenacity and willingness to get up off of the mat after being knocked down gets in our bones because it reminds us that no matter where we are or what we face, there is hope.

Sure, there are those rooting against Tiger, but those are the cynics. For most of us, we’re captivated because we want to believe there’s hope for us as well.


Life is full of setbacks and adversity. And, if we’re honest, plenty of bad decisions. But the sad truth is, many of us choose to live in that place. We want to believe in a comeback, but we can’t seem to get beyond our past.

This weekend, Tiger Woods reminded me that every comeback begins with grace—a choice to move beyond our failure.

Oddly enough, that’s where so many of us get stuck. We’re usually willing to extend grace to others, but we ironically withhold it from ourselves. When it comes to our own lives, we think of our failures instead of our victories and we hide beneath the shadow of our past. As a result, we live trapped beneath the weight of guilt and shame.

Today, you need to know that you’ll never live the life you’ve been created for if you’re living under weight that you weren’t intended to bear. So today, I give you permission to forgive yourself. May today be the last day that you live under the weight of your past.

Today wasn’t just good for golf, it was good for all of us. Our world could use a little grace right now. We need to believe in second chances and comebacks again.

So Tiger, wether you realize it or not, thanks for reminding us of the power of grace.



Matt Ham is the cofounder of YouPrint, a faith and personal development organization who helps folks discover their why and live a life of impact. 

Learn more about their Portable Faith Community at www.wakeupmyfaith.com

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