Is Tiger Woods' Masters triumph the greatest sporting comeback in history?

April 15, 2019

Tiger Woods put 11 years of injury setbacks and personal problems behind him to win his 15th major championship with a one-shot win at Augusta on Sunday.

But how does the 43-year-old's achievement compare with other sporting comebacks in history? We take a look at some of the contenders and you can vote for the best in our poll.

Greg LeMond

Considered by many to be the greatest American cyclist of all time, Greg LeMond was preparing to defend his first Tour de France title in 1987 when a hunting accident in California left him within 20 minutes of bleeding to death.

The two-time Road Race world champion was hit by more than 60 pellets after being shot by his uncle at a wild turkey hunt and was airlifted to hospital as he lost approximately 65 per cent of his blood.

Injuries from the accident forced him to miss the next two editions of the Tour de France, but he returned in 1989 to win the racing showpiece by eight seconds after a thrilling duel with Laurent Fignon.

Niki Lauda

Niki Lauda looked to be heading towards his second F1 world title in 1976 when his Ferrari left the track at the German Grand Prix and burst into flames after hitting an embankment.

With Lauda trapped inside the car and suffering severe burns, his racing career looked in danger, yet he returned just 43 days later at the Italian Grand Prix and would go on to win two more championships before retiring.

George Foreman

George Foreman dropped out of the limelight after his stunning defeat to Muhammad Ali in the 'Rumble in the Jungle' in 1974, fighting just six more times before retiring in 1977 following defeat to Jimmy Young.

But in 1987 - at a time when Mike Tyson ruled the division - he confounded the boxing world by returning to the ring at the age of 40.

After losing to Evander Holyfield on points in 1991, he was finally back on top of the world three years later, beating Michael Moorer to claim the heavyweight title 20 years after he had last held it. At 45 he was the oldest ever heavyweight world champion.

Monica Seles

Monica Seles looked poised to rule women's tennis in the early 1990s, becoming the youngest woman to reach the world No 1 ranking in 1991 before winning three out of four Grand Slam singles titles in 1992 with victories at the Australian, French and US Open.

But after winning the Australian Open at the start of 1993, she was stabbed by a spectator while playing at a tournament in Hamburg.

Although she soon recovered from her injuries, Seles would not play for two more years. She returned in 1995, and the following year she won her 10th and last Grand Slam singles title with victory at the Australian Open.

Muhammad Ali

After refusing to be inducted into the US army in 1966, world heavyweight champion Ali was effectively banned from boxing for three years between 1967 and 1970 as various sanctioning bodies across the United States refused to grant him a licence.

The ban meant Ali missed some of the peak years of his career, and his return to the ring ended in the first defeat of his career as he lost 1971's 'Fight of the Century' to Joe Frazier.

In 1974, Ali was given no chance as he attempted to regain his title against George Foreman in the 'Rumble of the Jungle', but the then-32-year-old Ali pulled off one of the great upsets with an eighth-round knockout.

Andre Agassi

In 1997, Andre Agassi was ranked 141st in the world after falling out of love with tennis.

He played just 24 matches that year as his marriage to Brooke Shields fell apart and he later admitted to taking crystal meth.

But the American launched an astonishing comeback in 1999 that saw him complete his career Grand Slam at the French Open - itself a brilliant comeback after finding himself two sets down to Andrei Medvedev. He won his eighth and final major at the Australian Open in 2003, aged 32.

Alex Zanardi

Alex Zanardi was voted Rookie of the Year in his first year in Indycar and after winning titles in 1997 and 1998, won a drive with Williams in Formula One.

His time in F1 didn't go well though and in his comeback race in Indycar, he worked his way up from the back of the grid to first, only to then spin on cold tyres. He was hit in the side by another car and lost his legs in the impact.

But after being fitted with prosthetic legs, Zanardi went on to drive in the World Touring Car Championship before turning to handcycling.

His first race was the 2007 New York marathon, where he finished fourth and he went on to win two golds and a silver at both the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics.

So there are the contenders, now vote for your favourite in our poll...

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