The NBA Hall of Famer admitted he thought Woods would "never be great again"

By Jason Duaine Hahn
April 19, 2019 04:45 PM
Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan
Credit: Sam Greenwood/PGA

Michael Jordan — like most golf fans last Sunday — tuned in to watch Tiger Woods complete an unbelievable win at the 2019 Masters Tournament.

The NBA legend (who knows a little bit about staging a comeback) said the 43-year-old golfer pulled off the best one “I’ve ever seen,” telling The Athletic, “I took two years off to play baseball, but nothing like that.”

Woods was victorious against an onslaught of young stars and claimed his first major title in 11 years on April 14.

“I’m pretty sure he questioned himself, whether he could get it back, and he had to put a lot of work in,” Jordan — who played in the minor leagues before returning to the Chicago Bulls — also told the outlet, according to the Golf Channel. “But he took it head-on. He had to change his game; he had to change his perspective a little bit. To me, it was the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen.”

Aside from a number of personal issues he has dealt with over the last decade, Woods also endured various injuries that derailed his career’s trajectory. Since taking home his last major in 2008, he has dealt with multiple surgeries to quell persistent pain in his back and has taken a backseat to other up-and-coming golfers like Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed.

But, as Jordan said, Woods likely drew on his lifetime of experience to keep his cool under pressure as others began to close in on his lead at the Masters.

Tiger Woods wins the 2019 Masters
| Credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

“You have so many things you can draw upon, and the other guys don’t have the same. They don’t have the experience,” Jordan, who is the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets, said. “From then on it was him trying to figure it out.”

He added, “It’s absolutely tough mentally. And then you think about the physical. I’m elated.”

As Yahoo Sports points out, Woods once approached Jordan for advice on when to walk away from the sport. Taking into account the pain Woods was in and how much it hurt for him to even swing a golf club, Jordan couldn’t express his true feelings.

“The thing is,” Jordan told ESPN in 2016, “I love him so much that I can’t tell him, ‘You’re not gonna be great again.’ ”

Tiger Woods
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/REX/Shutterstock (8460052j) Tiger Woods and his children, Sam and Charlie
| Credit: Lo Scalzo/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Now, though, Jordon said the tournament win has likely sparked a fire in Woods that won’t be fading any time soon.

“They [Woods’ tour opponents] got problems. His confidence is only going to build from here. The unknown is the biggest thing,” he told The Athletic. “You don’t know what Tiger’s capable of doing. He’s won a tour event [the Tour Championship last September], he’s won the Masters, he’s won a major.”