At ESPN, Rick Reilly wonders how history will view Tiger Woods if he never wins another major golf tournament, having won 13 in the 14 years before his highly public sex scandal and divorce in 2008.

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  1. This is an interesting question. I would not have thought about it, as I don’t usually think of sports figures going down in history, but realized on reflection that they really do. So, how will Tiger be remembered?

    First, it’s too early to know. If he gets his courage back, it will be different. But let’s say, as you propose, that he’s finished now.

    History is no longer being written by the victors. Events are being recorded by everyone. So we will not need to rely on special interest groups to have facts and opinions of him at our fingertips.

    This is my take: he will certainly be remembered as the first African American who not only brought golf to people of color but did so in a breathtaking way. He will be remembered as one of the greatest golfers who ever lived (how he will compare will be determined by future players). He will be remembered for his ambition and pride. He will most likely be remembered as a man whose self-destruction started after his womanizing was revealed. He might be remembered as a man who started out projecting human decency (“Achievements on the golf course are not what matters, decency and honesty are what matter.”) but ended by projecting the opposite (“Winning Takes Care Of Everything” – it will be accredited to him whether Nike made it up or not). But I do not believe that he will ever be thought of as a god who walked among us.

    I hope Tiger learns humility. I think it would help him get his big game back.

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