Vonn Wins as Boyfriend Woods Places Last: Tale of Two ComebacksErik Matuszewski
Lindsey Vonn had a better return to competition than her beau, winning her first downhill ski race in almost two years over the weekend while Tiger Woods tied for last place in a golf tournament he hosts.
Vonn, an Olympic gold medalist coming back from two surgeries on her right leg, finished eighth three days ago in her first downhill race in Lake Louise, Canada. She then won a downhill event the following day, leading a podium sweep for the U.S. and recording her 60th career World Cup victory, two short of the women’s career record.
It was the first win since Jan. 26, 2013, for Vonn, who also placed second yesterday in the season-opening World Cup super G race. Vonn tore two ligaments and broke a bone in her right leg in a February 2013 crash in Austria and required a second surgery after re-injuring her knee nine months later, a setback that forced her to miss the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
“It was so much more than I had hoped for,” Vonn, 30, said of her return. “I didn’t really know what to expect coming in and I kept making improvements every day. It was all around a perfect weekend and a perfect way to start the season.”
As Vonn conquered a Lake Louise venue at which she’s won 15 times and has been nicknamed “Lake Lindsey,” Woods -- her boyfriend of more than 1 1/2 years -- struggled at a course he played as a resident before his divorce.
In his return to competitive golf after an absence of almost four months due to a back injury, Woods hit his opening shot out of bounds and shot a 5-over-par 77 at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Windermere, Florida. Woods was also sick and fought through a bout of nausea and vomiting during the third round. A five-time champion, Woods finished at even par at his 18-player World Challenge, 26 shots behind winner Jordan Spieth.
Woods said he’s pleased with his revamped swing and is in no pain, yet has to “clean up” his short game after flubbing at least nine short chip and pitch shots around the greens.
“All it is is practice,” said Woods, who won’t compete again until early next year. “I just need to work.”
Woods, 38, praised Vonn on her successful return, saying skiing is “pure aggression,” while likening golf to playing a physical chess match that takes time and patience.
“To be able to get into a position where she felt comfortable to push the absolute physical limits -- because that’s what you have to do in order to win in her sport -- and to be able to take those chances and risks without having her knee blow out on her is pretty cool,” Woods said. “She’s got her confidence back.”