This has been a “Tiger-free” zone for a few months, but now that Eldrick Woods is returning to his profession, I’m reminded of two other athletic come backs in their order of significance.
First, Muhammad Ali returned to boxing in 1967 after 3-year absence as a result of his being convicted of draft evasion. “The Greatest” soon regained his heavyweight title, and some of his most memorable moments, including three titanic battles with “Smokin Joe” Frazier (remember the “Thrilla in Manilla”?) took place after his return.
Second, Michael Jordan rejoined the Bulls in 1995 after a one-year retirement. (His “Airness” may have been the last professional athlete to actually say he was leaving the game “to spend more time with my family” with a straight face.)
Jordan’s family soon became the Chicago White Sox minor league system. After battling minor league curveballs and bus-rides for a season, he decided to return to the Windy City. (Rumours at the time suggested that Jordan had been quietly suspended by David Stern for issues related to gambling.) He, Scottie Pippen and company went on to win another 3 NBA titles before retiring again.
Oddly enough, what got Tiger in trouble in the first place – his uncanny ability to compartmentalize his life – may actually serve him well as he returns to golf.