The amazing comeback from injury of American golfer Tiger Woods is among the most awesome success stories of 2018. As a result of persistent injuries that left him struggling to even pick up his ball, fans were beginning to wonder when the official announcement of his retirement would come!
He had once dominated the world of golf, but his classic performances had become a distant memory. The one-time greatest player in the world wasn’t even able to sit on a golf cart as a spectator at the President’s Cup because going over bumps on the course left him in pain.
Yet he made a recovery that was nothing short of miraculous, winning the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta, striding purposefully down the 18th fairway with thousands of fans running after him, cheering him every step of the way.
Wearing the traditional victory red from the old days, Tiger’s win was one of the most iconic moments in golf in 2018. It had been a staggering 1,876 days since his last win and his world ranking had plummeted to 1,199th at one stage. He had endured four back operations, including the last, a spinal fusion.
He had struggled to get out of bed without help and expected to recover only enough to play a round of golf with his kids. Yet at the age of 42, he had made one of the most memorable comebacks of all time, ending 2018 at number 13 in the world rankings.
Welcome back, Tiger Woods!
Brooks Koepka of the United States kept England’s Justin Rose off the top spot. Koepka, aged 28, became world number one following his victory at the 2018 CJ Cup. Earlier, he had won the US Open and the PGA Championship to finish 2018 at the top, when the final rankings of the year were announced on 30th December.
Rose, 38, had won the Fort Worth Invitational in May 2018 and was part of the European team that won the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National near Paris, France. In November 2018, Rose successfully defended his title at the Turkish Airlines Open, finishing the year as world number two.
Looking ahead to 2019, the rules of golf saw some significant changes, which came into effect on 1st January. They are aimed at improving the pace of play.
Among the most significant is the rule relating to balls lost or out-of-bounds. Committees at local level have the discretion to allow golfers an option to drop the ball in the area where it has been lost or hit out of bounds. They can drop in on to the nearest fairway area if they wish, accepting a two-stroke penalty to do so. The rule is not meant for elite-level competitions, however.
The time limit for looking for a lost ball has decreased from five to three minutes. In addition, there won’t be a penalty for accidentally moving the ball on the green, or while searching for it.
Trends for 2019
Other trending golf stories for 2019 are dominated by the anticipated continuing comeback of Tiger Woods. According to The Golf Channel, the “hard part” of his comeback is over and the “best part” is beginning. Nine years of problems seem to have finally ended and the noticeable sense of flow to his rounds is beginning to take shape.
The first major championship of the New Year is the Masters, from 11th to 14th April. Woods is the early favourite to win, according to some betting sites. He has won the event four times to date, with the last time being in 2005. Whoever wins, it will be exciting because it will be the first time in the season that the world’s top golfers will be coming together.
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