It has been described as the greatest sporting comeback of all time by many. Over the weekend Tiger Woods ended an 11-year wait to win his 15th major at The Masters. There were raucous celebrations around the 18th green as Woods finished with a two-under-par 70 to win on 13 under, one clear of fellow Americans Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka.
Woods, written off by so many so often as he battled back problems in recent years, punched the air in delight, a wide smile across his face, before celebrating with his children at the back of the green.
Tiger Woods has battled in both his personal life and in the sport he loves over recent years and there is no doubt that to come back and win not only a competition but a fifth Masters jacket is no easy feat. But does will his win have a massive impact on the future of golf?
At the start of Tiger’s career, he burst onto the global scene and propelled golf into the masses. When he was just 21-years-old and became the youngest winner of the Masters, money flowed into the sport like never before. Broadcasters and corporate groups rushed to be associated with the game and its breakout global star, while a new generation of golfers was drawn to the sport. And with its increased exposure golf boomed and recruitment was too easy as everyone wanted to try golf.
Fast forward to 2017 and it was revealed that golf was in deep decline. In 2006, the high water mark for the sport worldwide, more than four million Britons played golf; in 2017, that number was just 2,785,000.
There will be wide hoped in the sport that the ‘Tiger Effect’ is alive and kicking resulting in people playing the game again. Following Tiger’s win, three-time major winner Padraig Harrington said “This comeback story will break out from golf into all sports and all the news. It will be everywhere. There will be people who have never looked at golf and will be seeing this and wondering what it’s all about.”
Will Tiger’s journey back to the top bring golf back to the masses? Well, that remains to be seen but for the stakeholders of the sport and especially from a recruitment point of view they will certainly be hoping that golf and Tiger can roar again.