What the world was like when Woods last won a major

Golf

Tiger Woods claimed his 15th career major at the Masters over the weekend, completing a dramatic comeback from personal problems, injuries and a massive drop in form from what made him one of golf’s bankable stars for a good decade and a bit.

Woods had last won a major at the US Open in San Diego in June 2008.

What was the sporting world like then?


Ronaldo actually won the Ballon d’Or for the first time in January 2009, but the reigning best player of the world for the 2007 season was Brazil and AC Milan midfielder Kaka. Ronaldo and Messi went on to split the next ten awards evenly, before the duopoly was broken last year by Luka Modric, who also took Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final.

Virat Kohli was yet to play a senior match for India

Virat Kohli was only an India prospect in June 2008, having led the India U-19 team to the World Cup title in Malaysia that March. Kohli would make his debut for India in the ODI series against Sri Lanka away in August 2008, making 12 on debut as India lost the first game. His contribution grew through the series, as India came from behind to win the ODI series 3-2, and he now leads India across all formats, and has accumulated close to 20,000 international runs, with 66 centuries.

Usain Bolt was yet to win an Olympic gold

The world was yet to witness the ‘Lightning Bolt’ celebration at the Olympics when Woods won his 14th major in June 2008. Bolt won the 100m final at the Beijing Olympics in August of that year, and added the 200m gold four days later, winning both with new world record timings. He would go on to add six more golds over the next two Olympic Games, retaining the 100m-200m double, and adding the 4x100m relay gold to his tally.

Rafael Nadal was yet to ascend to world no.1

Nadal had four Grand Slam titles already, all of them at Roland Garros, but was consistently number two for most of his career behind arch rival Roger Federer. It was in the summer of 2008 that Nadal beat Federer to win Wimbledon for the first time, prevailing in a five-setter that lasted almost five hours. He rose to world no.1 in August that year, and has since taken his Slams tally to 17, including at least one at all four of the majors.

LeBron James was yet to win an NBA MVP award

LeBron James was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2004, and also the scoring champion for 2008, but only won his first MVP for the regular season in 2009. He would add regular season MVP awards in 2010, 2012 and 2013, while winning the Finals MVP in 2012, 2013 and 2016 as well, years in which he picked up the NBA championship title, twice with Miami Heat and once with Cleveland Cavaliers.

Pep Guardiola had won zero trophies as coach

For Guardiola, the 2008-09 season was where his career as coach really took off. He coached Barcelona B through 2007-08 and was elevated to the senior position after Frank Rijkaard’s departure in May 2008. The young coach made his intentions clear straight away, getting the likes of Ronaldinho, Deco and Gianluca Zambrotta to move out of the team, and his decisions paid dividends with the treble of the La Liga title, the Copa del Rey, and beating Manchester United to the Champions League title. At 38, he remains the youngest coach to have won the Champions League.

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