The Tiger Woods comeback in pictures

In 2010, when Tiger Woods joined the PGA Tour for the first time in two years, it was widely perceived as the beginning of the end for the world’s most famous athlete. As soon as he ascended the PGA ladder to become the youngest player to reach No. 1 in the world and a 25-year-old playing on his first tour, Woods found himself on the defensive for the first time in his sporting career, and his apparent inability to win golf tournaments led to rumors that he was struggling with injuries and even depression.

But unlike many of his peers, Wood’s demise took little notice on social media.

It was actually Matt Kuchar — a small-town kid with a little bit of momentum who’d already won three tournaments and briefly challenged Woods at every major tournament — who took to Facebook to say that he’d been there for Woods. He introduced himself, hoping Woods would see the post, and expressed his hope that they could “hit the links soon.”

But perhaps the most memorable comments came from Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren, who suggested on her Instagram page that Woods had suffered physically due to his rigorous training regimens.

“What have you trained for lately Tiger? You look great!! Why are you limping? Poor you,” she wrote, later adding in a subsequent post: “Haha! Seriously though I think some people need to be very aware when they consider suing over injuries caused by training that is effective and safe. What if my husband walked around with a brace or cane? Please?!?!?”

Nordegren’s words would bring about one of the greatest comeback stories in professional sports history. Woods would win 36 PGA Tour events over the next seven years, while he also rose to No. 1 for the third time in his career.

Woods was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013, and spent the first seven months of the year recovering from back surgery that kept him sidelined. He officially announced that he would be back in action at the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open, which starts Thursday.

Click through the photo gallery to see what Matt Kuchar said when he finally met Tiger Woods:

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