CBS announcer Jim Nantz said it all when Tiger Woods sunk his final putt of the afternoon Sunday to win his first Masters in 14 years and his first major since 2008.
“The return to glory,” Nantz said.
Woods, after all, completed a fairy-tale comeback, given his past. Since winning his last major, the 43-year-old went through a public infidelity scandal, underwent multiple back surgeries, was arrested for a DUI and saw his performance sharply decline.
But is Woods’ victory the greatest sports comeback of all time?
Here are some other inspiring moments from sports history that would make that list:
Muhammad Ali returns from exile
In 1966, Ali refused to be inducted into the military during the Vietnam War. As a result, the heavyweight champion was banned from boxing — and went more than three years without a fight. He was eventually granted a new boxing license and began the second half of his career, which included wins over Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ken Norton and others.
George Foreman becomes oldest heavyweight champion
Sticking with boxing, Foreman himself had an impressive comeback. After more than 10 years away from the ring, Foreman came out of retirement in 1987 at 38 years old. In 1994, Foreman captured the WBA and IBF titles with an eighth-round knockout — becoming the oldest heavyweight champion in history at age 45.
Monica Seles overcomes stabbing
From 1990 to 1993, Seles appeared in nine Grand Slam finals — and won eight of them. But months after winning the Australian Open, Seles was stabbed during the middle of a match by a spectator.
The incident led Seles to take more than a two-year hiatus away from the sport. But she eventually returned in 1995 and won the Australian Open in 1996.
Michael Jordan takes hiatus from basketball (the first time)
Considered the greatest basketball player of all time, Jordan stepped away from the sport in 1993 and pursued professional baseball instead. But Jordan eventually returned to basketball, announcing his return in 1995 with a fax message that contained the words: “I’m back.”
From 1996 to 1998, Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won three straight titles and Jordan won two additional MVPs.
Peyton Manning overcomes neck injury
Manning missed the entire 2011 season while recovering from neck surgery. The Indianapolis Colts then released Manning the following spring, leading the quarterback to sign with the Denver Broncos.
In Denver, Manning still performed at a high level. He threw a record 55 touchdowns in 2013 and the Broncos made the Super Bowl that postseason. In 2016, Manning won the second Super Bowl of his career and retired that offseason.
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