Members of the USC Upstate men’s golf team said they were stunned when they learned Tiger Woods survived a serious crash last Tuesday when the vehicle he was driving left the road and overturned several times near Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif.
Tiger was not under the influence at the time of the crash, according to Los Angeles law enforcement officials, but it was confirmed Woods was traveling at a high speed when he lost control of his vehicle.
Woods suffered open fractures on both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula along with a completely shattered ankle, according to doctors who performed surgery on the golfer. The injuries were declared non-life threatening
“I was shocked, and it scared me,” said Todd Lawton, Head Coach of the Men’s and Women’s Golf Teams at USC Upstate,. “As a golf coach and professional, Tiger has always increased interests in the game and brought competition to a new level. It’s been so fun to watch and I hope it hasn’t ended.”
Hunter Fry, Upstate’s number one player, wondered if Woods would be able to come back from his injuries to play again. “My initial thought when I heard Tiger was in a car accident was the question, is he ever going to be able to golf again? But then I thought that it’s bigger than golf and that I hope he’s okay just for his kids and family’s sake.”
Fry said Woods has had a big impact on him. “Accident aside, Tiger definitely had an impact on my golf career. He is the greatest golfer ever and I want to strive to be like him (on the course),” Fry said. “I would not be where I am now if I did not have him to watch growing up.”
At the age of 21, when Woods won The Masters unachievable expectations was placed on a man who willingly achieved almost all of them. Woods is the most decorated golfer of his generation, the winner of 82 PGA Tour events and 15 major championships since 1996.
On the course, Tigers’ life has been nothing short of excellent in its highest form. Off the course, Tigers’ life has been arguably a tragedy.
Tiger, the person, is far more important than Tiger, the golfer. In only this rare circumstance do we look at a 45-year-old man who has had five back surgeries and recovering from an incident where he is lucky to be alive, and wonder what else does he have to give us? The world is cheering on Tiger to make his way back to competing on the PGA Tour,
Woods has given his fans and families of supporters lifetimes of memories. It is time he spends the last half of his life giving it to his family. For nearly 25 years we have cheered Tiger for the legend he has been on the course. It is time we cheer him for who he is off the course, a person like you and I.
Jackson Lyons is a junior golfer with USC Upstate. Jackson is from Suffolk, Va.