Tiger wanted to be a SEAL.
Woods, one of the greatest golfers of all time, spent time training with the elite Navy SEALs in San Diego, not long after the death of his father Earl in 2006.
The 15-time major winner, currently recovering from Tuesday’s one-car accident in Los Angeles, now faces a long road back to the golf course after suffering what doctors called “significant orthopedic injuries” to his lower right leg and ankle.
It’s not the first time the 45-year-old has been faced with an arduous return to the sport he loves.
The death of Earl Woods and the ensuing trip to train with the SEALs was the beginning of a downfall, according a 2016 ESPN story, as he sought a way to deal with his grief. He was outfitted with tactical gear and weapons, taking a trip through the Kill House — a combat simulator where SEALs practice clearing rooms and rescuing hostages.
“He went all out,” one SEAL said. “He just f—ing went all out.”
Friends say the quest to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors was the means to an end. He wanted to chase something different, this time as an anonymous member of a team.
“It was very, very serious,” a friend told ESPN. “If he had had a hot two years and broken the record, he would have hung up his clubs and enlisted. No doubt.”
Not that the SEALs were sold on Woods. Many doubted whether he’d want to engage in the dirtier, less glamorous parts of the job.
There is also the story of Woods and five to six SEALs going out to lunch. When the check arrived, no one, including the multimillionaire golfer, spoke up. They ended up getting separate checks.
In the years that followed his special operations flirtation, Woods’ life has been a roller coaster, with highly publicized incidents involving extramarital affairs, and a 2017 DUI arrest, to go along with a return to golf and an inspirational victory at The Masters in 2019.