Tiger Woods is back on top. After winning his 5th Masters and 1st Major in a decade people just can’t get enough of this storybook tale of redemption. Countless injuries, legal troubles, addiction, personal battles and overwhelming loss; just some of what the most famous golfer of all time, perhaps the most famous athlete of all time, has had to overcome in order to rise to the top once more. Even those that don’t consider golf their forte or passion can’t deny the compelling nature of Mr. Woods’ story: one man’s fall from grace and the unlikely journey back to the top of the mountain.
Is that saga better than Tom Brady’s? John Elway’s? Michael Jordan’s? Those men all had to battle some adversity; late draft pick, struggling franchise and failure at another sport. But while those hurdles were no doubt difficult, they pale in comparison to comeback tales like that of Tiger Woods or even a guy like Peyton Manning overcoming 4 neck surgeries and winning 1 more title before retirement. Once Brady became a starting QB he never really witnessed that “falling off the saddle” narrative. Sure, he broke a leg and missed a season but it’s much different than Tiger Woods missing out on a Major championship win for over a decade. When it comes to Brady, if you live outside of the New England area, you might not have too many positive things to say about the 6 time SB champ. However, whether you were for Woods all along or couldn’t really stomach the negatives surrounding the man, there was a little part of all of us hoping he would pull it off. So Brady winning consistently since 2001 vs. Tiger Woods winning, then not so much for 10 years, to winning again; Which one is more compelling and heart wrenching? Redemption beats perfection.
So why is Tom Brady’s career not the fairy tale that Tiger Woods’ is? Deflate gate? You know air out of a football is not nearly as controversial as an arrest for a DUI (avoided conviction), constant affairs and of course, that voicemail we will never forget. But when Tiger hit his worst he flat out slammed into the rock bottom. Brady won a SB in the midst of his biggest controversy.
Tiger Woods is that drama we all want to see. It gives us hope. It shows us that no matter how bad our situation is you can still bounce back and win a Masters. Well, maybe not a Masters for 99% of us but still…we see a man who was the butt of every joke, a national side show, a sad look at what was and maybe could have been. He truly fell from the peak of the mountain. He was the one man that single handedly put an entire sport on the map. Name just 1 player that did that in basketball, football, hockey and baseball. When you hear golf, you hear Tiger Woods. He was the picture of greatness then he was dragged through the mud. He overcame all of it and now is back on top of the entire world of sports.
Think about it; which theme park ride is better? The lazy river ride (slow and steady but you have time to see some great scenery) or the roller coaster (up and down, sick to your stomach and absolutely thrilling). Brady is the lazy river; dependable, predictable and guarantees a nice time. Tiger is the roller coaster. You might feel sick after the ride or you may not be able to contain your excitement.
Who’s career is better? Tom Brady’s or Tiger Woods’? One has never really failed in their professional career while the other has experienced the highest of highs, the lowest of lows and the highest of highs yet again. If the goal in sports is to win championships or just win in general, then why wouldn’t a guy that’s never stopped winning have the better career? We are wired to root for the comeback. Not many sports movies about a guy that just wins all the time. Rudy, Invincible and Miracle are all about overcoming the odds. What would Brady’s move be titled? Winning; a story of winning. Not many people waiting in line for that one. But Tiger Woods’ movie? Oh yea. That’s a box office hit!