Lusetich: Tiger "Found The Fellow He Used To Be"

Author Robert Lusetich provided perspective on Tiger Woods' journey from rock bottom to Masters champion

Reiter Than You
April 15, 2019 - 9:31 pm
Tiger Woods Masters

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Robert Lusetich, the author of “Unplayable: An Inside Account of Tiger's Most Tumultuous Season,” dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Monday to put Tiger Woods’ Masters win in perspective.

Woods, 43, shot a 13-under-275 at Augusta National this past weekend to win his first major championship since 2008 – and his first green jacket since 2005.

Has there even been a comeback story quite like this in golf?

“It’s very hard to imagine anything,” Lusetich said on Reiter Than You. “I can’t personally think of anything that’s in this realm. Obviously I wasn’t around when Ben Hogan flew himself over his wife to save her when a Greyhound bus crashed into their car – and then he comes back to win the U.S. Open. That’s a narrative straight out of Hollywood. It’s very hard for me to say, ‘Well, this would be bigger than that.’ I don’t think you can say that.

“But it’s easy to forget it’s been 11 years since he won a major,” Lusetich continued. “It wasn’t two years or three years. It’s been 11 years, and 11 years is a very long time. In that time, there was a lot of stumbles, a lot of pitfalls, scandal – a lot of things went wrong for him.” 

Divorce. Surgeries. Substance abuse. 

“He was Player of the Year in 2013, but never did he really, to me, seem like the same guy that he was pre-scandal until now,” Lusetich said. “Now I look at him, his iron play is stellar. Tiger has somehow found a way to elevate himself back to a place that he was. Now, he’s not the same guy that he was in 2000 because he’s 43 and there’s limitations. But he remembers enough to thrust himself back into the equation. It’s pretty mind-blowing that he won this tournament.”

Woods held off Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, among others, on Sunday, ultimately winning by a stroke.

“He didn’t make mistakes – and that’s what the other Tiger was fantastic at,” Lusetich said. “He would wait until somebody made a mistake, and then he would capitalize. When you’re behind the 8-ball and you’re trying to chase this guy, you got problems – because he isn’t coming back to you.”

Woods, less than two years removed from a DUI, is back atop the golf world.

“I personally believe that the DUI of 2017 really was his rock bottom,” Lusetich said. “I think he had a problem with pills. It’s very easy to get pain pills, and it’s very easy to get addicted to them. From there, the road to this green jacket and this amazing story of redemption and this comeback really began there – and somehow along the way, he found the fellow he used to be. It’s just amazing.”