Eight years ago, Tiger Woods was not only considered the greatest golfer of his time, but he was also widely regarded as the best athlete of his generation. On the evening of Thanksgiving 2009, Woods crashed into a tree in front of his house. Within the next couple of days, news of Woods cheating on his ex-wife Elin Nordgren surfaced and his game hasn’t recovered since. Since the 2009 accident, the professional golfer didn’t win again until March 2012. Then in 2012 and 2013, he won eight times and finished in the top 10 of half of his events. Injuries have kept him sidelined for the majority of the time since then. However, there was still hope for the man that won 14 majors when he finished T17 at the 2015 Masters.
On May 29, that hope was all but gone.
Palm Beach County Sheriffs booked Woods in the county jail on charges of driving under the influence at 7:18 a.m. After being released at 10:58 a.m., Woods denied the situation was a result of excessive drinking.
“I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions,” Woods said in an official statement after his release. “I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”
Based on how he mentally recovered from his 2009 accident, his age, and recent injury tendencies, the 41-year-old won’t top Jack Nichols’ 18 majors, which would’ve made Woods the greatest golfer of all time.
On the other hand, Serena Williams became the all-time winningest major champion of the Open era. The 35-year-old accomplished the feat after defeating her older sister, Venus, in the Australian Open final — while pregnant. The win also made Williams the oldest to ever win a major.
“If I were a man, I would have 100 percent been considered the greatest ever a long time ago,” Williams said in an interview with Common for The Undefeated last December.
With a singles and doubles win percentage of 86, each, throughout her 22-year career, it appears the only thing that can stop Williams for a couple of months is pregnancy.
The only athlete whose resume can compete with Williams’ in this generation is Michael Phelps, owner of the most Olympic medals of all time. Although the 31-year-old Phelps became the oldest man to win an individual gold in swimming during last year’s games in Rio, his professional career lasted 15 years compared to Williams’ seemingly never-ending embark on pushing the boundaries of athletic greatness.