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3,954 Days Later… And What Business Owners Can Learn

3,954 days.

That’s how long it took for Tiger Woods to win his 15th Major golf championship last weekend when he won the US Masters at Augusta, Georgia.

His 14th and previous Major had been the 2008 US Open and 3,954 days had passed between him winning his 14th and 15th Majors. Nearly 11 years.

In the intervening period, Woods has gone through a series of well-documented highs and lows.

It all started with a very public admission of serial infidelity and the resultant breakdown of his marriage. From there, his life for several years seemed to unravel.

He took a break from golf, and when Woods returned to the game, he was beset by serious injury problems and had numerous surgeries which included several back surgeries and spinal fusion surgery.

He slipped down the world rankings and at one stage was ranked 1,199th in the world having been number one in the world for many years.

His off-course problems continued in 2017 when he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

In the meantime, his ongoing injury problems and resultant inability to compete, meant that at one stage he thought his career was over and considered retiring from professional golf.

And yet here he is, in April 2019, at the age of 43, making quite a remarkable comeback. To put it in perspective, he last won the US Masters in 2005.

Some are calling it the greatest comeback in sport, and regardless of whether that is true, it is certainly a remarkable achievement considering all he has been through.

Many people love him, think golf has been the poorer without him and are glad he’s back. Others dislike some of the things “he got up to” off the golf course and feel as a role model he has let many people down, not least the many youngsters who all want “to be like Tiger”.

Whatever your thoughts on Woods’ the man, as a golfer, we must acknowledge just what he has accomplished and what he has overcome in getting back to his best.

The “great and the good” from all walks of life turned to social media to recognise his victory last week. Here are just a few of the words of congratulation he received:

Former US President Barack Obama: “To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit and determination”

Retired tennis champion Chris Evert: “Tiger has shown us all that you can always come back, in sport and in life, if you put in the work”

Actor Hugh Jackman: “What a comeback!! Congrats”

Chris Evert’s quote got me thinking.

As business owners and entrepreneurs, no matter how hard we might fall, how much we might fail, we can always come back. If we put in the work!

As business owners, here’s some lessons we can learn from Tiger’s comeback:

Don’t give up:
Woods’ failures were front page news. His public humiliation was complete. His injuries at times seemed insurmountable. But he didn’t let any of these things stop him. He kept going, he kept trying and he never gave up.

Never believe you’re too old:
Woods, at 43, isn’t old in entrepreneur terms, but in elite athlete’s years, especially given his many injuries and physical problems he could be viewed as too old. Many winners on the golf tour, such as Rory McIlroy, are in their twenties. But Woods’ didn’t let age get in the way of what he was trying to achieve.

Keep learning:
“The game has changed, and my body has changed,” Woods said about some of the work he needed to do to compete successfully. He continued, “My swing has changed because my body has changed and I’ve had to get used to new equipment. It’s been quite a year.”
But Woods’ kept focused, kept adjusting to changes and kept learning.

Be grateful:
Woods needed to learn how to lose to be able to win again. He had always been so talented, so dominant that winning seemed easy. He had to start from scratch again, work as hard – if not harder – than when he was just starting out.
“Just the fact that I’m playing the tour again, just for me to be able to have this opportunity again, it’s a dream come true,” Woods said.

As business owners, we can learn a lot from elite athletes about what it takes to succeed. This past week at the US Masters, Woods gave us a great lesson in what it takes to win. And as business owners, just like Woods, sometimes it’s the setbacks that put us on the road to success.