Woods returned to golf that June at the Quicken Loans Invitational, but he wouldn’t win again for the rest of the year. In 2015 he missed the cut at three of the four majors and underwent season-ending back surgery—another microdiscectomy, same as the previous procedure—that September, as well as a follow-up surgery the next month.
He told Time toward the end of the year that, if his latest spate of injuries did spell the end of his career, being a father was at least helping him accept the possibility.
“The most important thing, though, is that I get to have a life with my kids. That’s more important than golf. I’ve come to realize that now…It’s not what I want to have happen, and it’s not what I’m planning on having happen,” Woods said of calling it a career. “But if it does, it does. I’ve reconciled myself to it. It’s more important for me to be with my kids. I don’t know how I could live with myself not being able to participate in my kids’ lives like that. That, to me, is special.”
In a lot of pain and with the future of his career hanging in the balance, it’s no wonder his personal life suffered in the meantime.
He and Vonn were broken up by May 2015—and while they called the decision mutual and showered each other with praise, rumors that Woods had cheated—and with the ex-wife of a fellow golfer, no less—were almost inevitable.