Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods[6] (born December 30, 1975)[7] is an American professional golfer who is among the most successful golfers of all time. He has been one of the highest-paid athletes in the world for several years.

Following an outstanding junior, college, and amateur career, Woods was 20 years old when he turned professional at the end of the summer in 1996. By April 1997, he had already won three PGA tour events in addition to his first major, the 1997 Masters. Woods won this tournament by 12 strokes in a record-breaking performance and pocketed $486,000. He first reached the number one position in the world rankings in June 1997, less than a year after turning pro. Throughout the 2000s, Woods was the dominant force in golf. He was the top-ranked golfer in the world from August 1999 to September 2004 (264 weeks) and again from June 2005 to October 2010 (281 weeks).

Woods took a hiatus from professional golf from December 2009 to early April 2010 in order to focus on difficult issues in his personal life. He and his estranged wife Elin eventually divorced. His many alleged extramarital indiscretions were revealed by several women, through many worldwide media sources.[8] This was followed by a loss of golf form, and his ranking gradually fell to a low of No. 58 in November 2011.[24][107] He ended a career-high winless streak of 107 weeks when he triumphed in the Chevron World Challenge in December 2011.[107] After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 25, 2013, he ascended to the No.1 ranking once again, holding the top spot until May 2014. Woods had back surgery in April 2014 and September 2015[11] and has struggled since to regain his dominant form. By March 29, 2015, Woods had fallen to #104, outside of the top 100 for the first time since 1996. In May 2016, Woods dropped out of the world top 500 for the first time in his professional career.[13] In July 2017, the Official World Golf Ranking placed Woods at number 1,005, the worst of his career and only time he has ever been out of the top 1,000. He had ranked number one for a total of 683 weeks, more than any other player in history.[255]

Woods has broken numerous golf records. He has been World Number One for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks of any golfer. He has been awarded PGA Player of the Year a record eleven times,[14] the Byron Nelson Award for lowest adjusted scoring average a record eight times, and has the record of leading the money list in ten different seasons. He has won 14 professional major golf championships, where he trails only Jack Nicklaus who leads with 18, and 79 PGA Tour events, second all-time behind Sam Snead, who had 82 wins.[15] Woods leads all active golfers in career major wins and career PGA Tour wins. He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, and the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour. Additionally, Woods is only the second golfer (after Nicklaus) to have achieved a career Grand Slam three times. Woods has won 18 World Golf Championships, and won at least one of those events in each of the first 11 years after they began in 1999. Woods and Rory McIlroy are the only golfers to win both The Silver Medal and The Gold Medal at The Open Championship.

Background and family

Woods was born in 1975 in Cypress, California, to Earl (1932–2006) and Kultida "Tida" Woods (b. 1944). He is the only child of their marriage; however, he does have two half-brothers, Earl Jr. (b. 1955) and Kevin (b. 1957), and a half-sister, Royce (b. 1958) from the 18-year marriage of Earl Woods and his first wife, Barbara Woods Gray.

Kultida (née Punsawad) is originally from Thailand, where Earl had met her on a tour of duty in 1968. She is of mixed Thai, Chinese, and Dutch ancestry.[16] Earl was a retired lieutenant colonel and Vietnam War veteran who was mostly African American with traces of European descent. Earl's mother Maude Carter was of light skin. Some people suggested that she had Native American and Chinese ancestry.[4] Tiger refers to his ethnic make-up as "Cablinasian" (a syllabic abbreviation he coined from Caucasian, Black, American Indian, and Asian).[19]

Woods' first name, Eldrick, was coined by his mother because it began with "E" (for Earl) and ended with "K" (for Kultida). His middle name Tont is a traditional Thai name. He was nicknamed Tiger in honor of his father's friend Col. Vuong Dang Phong, who had also been known as Tiger.[20]

Woods' niece, Cheyenne Woods, played for Wake Forest University's golf team and turned professional in 2012, when she made her pro debut in the LPGA Championship.[21]

Early life and amateur golf career

Woods grew up in Orange County, California. He was a child prodigy who was introduced to golf before the age of two by his athletic father, Earl Woods. Earl was a single-digit handicap amateur golfer who had been one of the earliest African-American college baseball players at Kansas State University. Tiger's father was a member of the military and had playing privileges at the Navy golf course beside the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, which allowed Tiger to play there. Tiger also played at the par 3 Heartwell golf course in Long Beach, as well as some of the municipals in Long Beach.[258]

In 1978, Tiger putted against comedian Bob Hope in a television appearance on The Mike Douglas Show. At age three, he shot a 48 over nine holes at the Navy course. At age five, he appeared in Golf Digest and on ABC's That's Incredible.[259] Before turning seven, Tiger won the Under Age 10 section of the Drive, Pitch, and Putt competition, held at the Navy Golf Course in Cypress, California. In 1984 at the age of eight, he won the 9–10 boys' event, the youngest age group available, at the Junior World Golf Championships.[23] He first broke 80 at age eight. He went on to win the Junior World Championships six times, including four consecutive wins from 1988 to 1991.[24][25][26][27][28]

Woods' father Earl wrote that Tiger first defeated him at the age of 11 years, with Earl trying his best. Earl lost to Tiger every time from then on. Woods first broke 70 on a regulation golf course at age 12.

When Woods was 13 years old, he played in the 1989 Big I, which was his first major national junior tournament. In the final round, he was paired with pro John Daly, who was then relatively unknown. The event's format placed a professional with each group of juniors who had qualified. Daly birdied three of the last four holes to beat Woods by only one stroke. As a young teenager, Woods first met Jack Nicklaus in Los Angeles at the Bel-Air Country Club, when Nicklaus was performing a clinic for the club's members. Woods was part of the show, and he impressed Nicklaus and the crowd with his skills and potential. Earl Woods had researched in detail the career accomplishments of Nicklaus, and had set his young son the goals of breaking those records.

Woods was 15-years-old and attending Western High School in Anaheim when he became the youngest-ever U.S. Junior Amateur champion (a record that stood until it was broken by Jim Liu in 2010).[29] He was named 1991's Southern California Amateur Player of the Year (for the second consecutive year) and Golf Digest Junior Amateur Player of the Year. In 1992, he defended his title at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, becoming the tournament's first two-time winner. He also competed in his first PGA Tour event, the Nissan Los Angeles Open (he missed the 36-hole cut), and was named Golf Digest Amateur Player of the Year, Golf World Player of the Year, and Golfweek National Amateur of the Year.[30][32]

The following year, Woods won his third consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur Championship; he remains the event's only three-time winner.[33] In 1994, at the TPC at Sawgrass in Florida, he became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, a record he held until 2008 when it was broken by Danny Lee. He was a member of the American team at the 1994 Eisenhower Trophy World Amateur Golf Team Championships (winning), and the 1995 Walker Cup (losing).[2]

Woods graduated from Western High School at age 18 in 1994 and was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" among the graduating class. He had starred for the high school's golf team under coach Don Crosby.[254]

Woods overcame difficulties with stuttering as a boy.[254][254][254] This was not known until he wrote a letter to a boy who contemplated suicide. Woods wrote, "I know what it's like to be different and to sometimes not fit in. I also stuttered as a child and I would talk to my dog and he would sit there and listen until he fell asleep. I also took a class for two years to help me, and I finally learned to stop."[39]

College golf career

Woods was heavily recruited by college golf powers and chose Stanford University, the 1994 NCAA Division I champions. He enrolled at Stanford in the fall of 1994 under a golf scholarship and won his first collegiate event, the 40th Annual William H. Tucker Invitational, that September.[40] He selected a major in economics, and was nicknamed "Urkel" by college teammate Notah Begay III. In 1995, he successfully defended his U.S. Amateur title at the Newport Country Club in Rhode Island and was voted Pac-10 Player of the Year, NCAA First Team All-American, and Stanford's Male Freshman of the Year (an award that encompasses all sports).[41][43]

At age 19 (two years before he won the tournament), Woods participated in his first PGA Tour major, the 1995 Masters, and tied for 41st as the only amateur to make the cut. At age 20 in 1996, he became the first golfer to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles and won the NCAA individual golf championship.[44] In winning the silver medal as leading amateur at The Open Championship, he tied the record for an amateur aggregate score of 281. He left college after two years and turned professional. In 1996, Woods moved out of California, stating in 2013 that it was due to the state's tax rate.[45][47]

Professional career

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Woods at age 2 on The Mike Douglas Show. From left, Tiger Woods, Mike Douglas, Earl Woods and Bob Hope on October 6, 1978.

Woods turned pro in August, 1996 and immediately signed advertising deals with Nike, Inc. and Titleist that ranked as the most lucrative endorsement contracts in golf history at that time.[2][4] Woods was named Sports Illustrated's 1996 Sportsman of the Year and PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.[5] In April 1997, he won his first major, the Masters, in record-breaking fashion and became the tournament's youngest-ever winner at age 21.[10] Two months later, he set the record for the fastest-ever ascent to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings.[11] After a lackluster 1998, Woods finished the 1999 season with eight wins, including the PGA Championship, a feat not achieved since 1974.[13][14]

In 2000, Woods recorded six consecutive wins, the longest winning streak since Ben Hogan did it in 1948. One of these was the 2000 U.S. Open, where he broke or tied nine tournament records in what Sports Illustrated called "the greatest performance in golf history," in which Woods won the tournament by a record 15-stroke margin and earned a check for $800,000.[15] At age 24, he became the youngest golfer to achieve the Career Grand Slam.[16] At the end of 2000, Woods had won nine of the twenty PGA Tour events he entered and had broken the record for lowest scoring average in tour history. He was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, the only athlete to be honored twice, and was ranked by Golf Digest magazine as the twelfth-best golfer of all time.[17][29]

Woods' victory in the 2001 Masters made him the first player to hold all four major professional golf titles at the same time, although not in the same calendar year.[61] Following a stellar 2001 and 2002 in which Woods continued to dominate the tour, Woods' career hit a slump.[13][26] He did not win a major in 2003 or 2004. In September 2004, Vijay Singh overtook Woods in the Official World Golf Rankings, ending Woods' record streak of 264 weeks at #1.[25]

Woods rebounded in 2005, winning six official PGA Tour money events and reclaiming the top spot in July after swapping it back and forth with Singh over the first half of the year.[7]

Woods began dominantly in 2006, winning his first two PGA tournaments but failing to capture his fifth Masters championship in April.[27] Following the death of his father in May, Woods took a nine-week hiatus from the tour and appeared rusty upon his return at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, where he missed the . However, he quickly returned to form and ended the year by winning six consecutive tour events. At the season's close, with 54 wins and 12 majors wins, Woods had broken the tour records for both total wins and total majors wins over eleven seasons.[33]

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Woods in 2001

Woods continued to excel in 2007 and the first part of 2008. In April 2008, he underwent knee surgery and missed the next two months on the tour.[50] Woods returned for the 2008 U.S. Open, where he struggled the first day but ultimately claimed a dramatic sudden death victory over Rocco Mediate that followed an 18 hole playoff, after which Mediate said, "This guy does things that are just not normal by any stretch of the imagination," and Kenny Perry added, "He beat everybody on one leg."[55][56][57] Two days later, Woods announced that he would miss the remainder of the season due to additional knee surgery, and that his knee was more severely damaged than previously revealed, prompting even greater praise for his U.S. Open performance. Woods called it "my greatest ever championship."[58][270] In Woods' absence, TV ratings for the remainder of the season suffered a huge decline from 2007.[62]

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Woods at the 2004 Ryder Cup

Woods had a much anticipated return to golf in 2009, when he performed well. His comeback included a spectacular performance at the 2009 Presidents Cup, but he failed to win a major, the first year since 2004 that he had not done so.[63][76][77] After his marital infidelities came to light and received massive media coverage at the end of 2009 (see further details below), Woods announced in December that he would be taking an indefinite break from competitive golf.[8] In February 2010, he delivered a televised apology for his behavior.[82] During this period, several companies ended their endorsement deals with Woods.[83]

Woods returned to competition in April at the 2010 Masters, where he finished tied for fourth place.[89] He followed the Masters with poor showings at the Quail Hollow Championship and the Players Championship, where he withdrew in the fourth round, citing injury.[90] Shortly afterward, Hank Haney, Woods' coach since 2003, resigned the position; he was replaced in August by Sean Foley. The rest of the season went badly for Woods, who failed to win a single event for the first time since turning professional, while nevertheless finishing the season ranked No. 2 in the world.

Woods' performance continued to suffer in 2011, taking its toll on his ranking. After falling to No. 7 in March, he rebounded to No. 5 with a strong showing at the 2011 Masters Tournament, where he tied for fourth place. Due to leg injuries incurred at the Masters, he missed several summer stops on the PGA Tour. In July, he fired his longtime caddy Steve Williams (who was shocked by the dismissal), and replaced him on an interim basis with friend Bryon Bell. After returning to tournament play in August, Woods continued to falter, and his ranking gradually fell to a low of #58.[107] He rose to No. 50 in mid-November after a third-place finish at the Emirates Australian Open, and broke his winless streak with a victory at December's Chevron World Challenge.[107]

Woods began his 2012 season with two tournaments (the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am) where he started off well, but struggled on the final rounds. Following the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where he was knocked out in the second round by missing a 5-foot putt,[109] Woods revised his putting technique and tied for second at the Honda Classic, with the lowest final round score in his PGA Tour career. After a short time off due to another leg injury, Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his first win on the PGA Tour since the BMW Championship in September 2009. Following several dismal performances, Woods notched his 73rd PGA Tour win at the Memorial Tournament in June, tying Jack Nicklaus in second place for most PGA Tour victories;[87] a month later, Woods surpassed Nicklaus with a win at the AT&T National, to trail only Sam Snead, who accumulated 82 PGA tour wins.[111]

The year 2013 would bring a return of Woods' dominating play. In January, he won the Farmers Insurance Open by four shots for his 75th PGA Tour win. It was the seventh time he had won the event.[89] In March, he won the WGC-Cadillac Championship, also for the seventh time, giving him his 17th WGC title and first since 2009.[4] Two weeks later, he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, winning the event for a record-tying 8th time. The win moved him back to the top of the world rankings.[4] To commemorate that achievement, Nike was quick to launch an ad with the tagline "winning takes care of everything".

During the 2013 Masters, Woods was up for disqualification over claims that he took an illegal drop on the par-5 15th hole after his third shot had bounced off of the pin and into the water. After further review, Woods was assessed a two-stroke penalty for the drop and was not disqualified.[93] He finished tied for fourth in the event. Woods won The Players Championship in May 2013, his second career win at the event, notching his fourth win of the 2013 season. It was the quickest he had ever gotten to four wins in any season in his professional career.

Woods had a poor showing at the 2013 U.S Open as a result of an elbow injury sustained at The Players Championship. In finishing at 13-over-par, he recorded his worst score ever as a professional and finished 12 strokes behind winner Justin Rose. After a prolonged break because of the injury, during which he missed the Greenbrier Classic and his own AT&T National, he returned at the Open Championship at Muirfield. Despite being in contention all week and beginning the final round only two strokes behind Lee Westwood, he struggled with the speed of the greens and could only manage a 3-over-par 74 that left him tied for 6th place, five strokes behind eventual winner Phil Mickelson. Two weeks later, Woods returned to form at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, recording his 5th win of the season and 8th win at the event in its 15-year history. His second round 61 matched his record score on the PGA Tour and could easily have been a 59 were it not for some short missed birdie putts on the closing holes. This gave him a seven stroke lead that he held onto for the rest of the tournament. Woods would never contend at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club and would come short of winning a major for the 5th full season, only contending in two of the four majors in 2013.

After a slow start to 2014, Woods injured himself during the final round of the Honda Classic and was unable to finish the tournament. He withdrew after the 13th hole, citing back pain.[94] He subsequently competed in the WGC-Cadillac Championship but was visibly in pain during much of the last round. He was forced to skip the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the end of March 2014,[95] and after undergoing back surgery, he announced on April 1 that he would miss the Masters for the first time since 1994.[96] Woods returned at the Quicken Loans National in June, however he stated that his expectations for the week were low. He would struggle with nearly every aspect of his game and miss the cut. He next played at The Open Championship, contested at Hoylake, where Woods had won eight years prior. Woods fired a brilliant 69 in the first round to put himself in contention, but shot 77 on Friday and would eventually finish 69th. Despite his back pain, he played at the 2014 PGA Championship where he failed to make the cut. On August 25, 2014, Woods and his swing coach Sean Foley parted ways. In the four years under Foley, he won eight times but no majors. He had previously won eight majors with Harmon and six with Haney. Woods said there is currently no timetable to find a replacement swing coach.

On February 5, 2015, Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open after another back injury.[98] Woods stated on his website that it was unrelated to his previous surgery and he would take a break from golf until his back healed.[99] He returned for the Masters, finishing in a tie for 17th. In the final round, Woods injured his wrist after his club hit a tree root. He later stated that a bone popped out of his wrist, but he adjusted it back into place and finished the round.[100] Woods then missed the cut at the 2015 U.S. Open and Open Championship, the first time ever Woods missed the cut at consecutive majors, finishing near the bottom of the leaderboard both times.[101][102] He finished tied for 18th at the Quicken Loans National on August 2.[103] In late August 2015, Woods played quite well at the Wyndham Championship finishing the tournament at 13-under, only four strokes behind the winner, and tied for 10th place. Woods offered only a brief comment on the speculation that he was still recovering from back surgery, saying it was "just my hip" but offering no specifics.

In late March 2016, Woods announced that he would miss the Masters while recovering from back surgery that took place on September 16, 2015.[11] (He had also missed the 2014 Masters due to a back problem.) "I'm absolutely making progress, and I'm really happy with how far I've come," he explained in a statement. "But I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf." However, he did attend the Masters Champions Dinner on April 5, 2016. For the first time in his career he missed all four majors in one year due to problems with his back. In October 2016, he told Charlie Rose on PBS that he still wanted to break Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major titles. After 15 months out after back surgery in December 2016, Woods made his return to competitive golf in the Hero World Challenge. Woods' back problems continued to hinder him in 2017, as he missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, and pulled out of a European Tour event in Dubai on February 3. On March 31, Woods announced on his website that he would not be playing in the 2017 Masters Tournament despite being cleared to play by his doctors. Woods said that although he was happy with his rehabilitation, he did not feel "tournament ready."[274][275] On April 20, Woods announced that he had undergone his fourth back surgery since 2014 to alleviate back and leg pain. Recovery time required up to six months, meaning that Woods would spend the rest of the year without playing any professional golf.

Honors

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Woods at the 2006 Masters

On August 20, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria announced that Woods would be inducted into the California Hall of Fame. He was inducted December 5, 2007 at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento.[13][13]

In December 2009, Woods was named "Athlete of the Decade" by the Associated Press.[13] He was named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year[13] a record-tying four times, and is the only person to be named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year more than once.

Since his record-breaking win at the 1997 Masters, golf's increased popularity is commonly attributed to Woods' presence. He is credited by some sources for dramatically increasing prize money in golf, generating interest in new PGA tournament audiences, and for drawing the largest TV ratings in golf history.[5][13][13][13][13][13]

Endorsements

During the first decade of his professional career, Woods was the world's most marketable athlete.[117] Shortly after his 21st birthday in 1996, he signed endorsement deals with numerous companies, including General Motors, Titleist, General Mills, American Express, Accenture, and Nike, Inc. In 2000, he signed a 5-year, $105 million contract extension with Nike. It was the largest endorsement package ever signed by an athlete at that time. Woods' endorsement has been credited with playing a significant role in taking the Nike Golf brand from a "start-up" golf company earlier in the previous decade to becoming the leading golf apparel company in the world and a major player in the equipment and golf ball market.[117][279] Nike Golf is one of the fastest growing brands in the sport, with an estimated $600 million in sales.[57] Woods has been described as the "ultimate endorser" for Nike Golf,[57] frequently seen wearing Nike gear during tournaments, and even in advertisements for other products. Woods receives a percentage from the sales of Nike Golf apparel, footwear, golf equipment, golf balls,[117] and has a building named after him at Nike's headquarters campus in Beaverton, Oregon.[121]

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Woods competing at the third annual Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am (July 1, 2009)

In 2002, Woods was involved in every aspect of the launch of Buick's Rendezvous SUV. A company spokesman stated that Buick was happy with the value of Woods' endorsement, pointing out that more than 130,000 Rendezvous vehicles were sold in 2002 and 2003. "That exceeded our forecasts," he was quoted as saying, "It has to be in recognition of Tiger." In February 2004, Buick renewed Woods' endorsement contract for another five years, in a deal reportedly worth $40 million.

Woods collaborated closely with TAG Heuer to develop the world's first professional golf watch, which was released in April 2005.[123] The lightweight, titanium-construction watch, designed to be worn while playing the game, incorporates numerous innovative design features to accommodate golf play. It is capable of absorbing up to 5,000 Gs of shock, far in excess of the forces generated by a normal golf swing.[123] In 2006, the TAG Heuer Professional Golf Watch won the prestigious iF product design award in the Leisure/Lifestyle category.[280]

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Woods at a Chevron World Challenge charity event (2011)

Woods also endorsed the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series of video games; he has done so since 1999.[255] In 2006, he signed a six-year contract with Electronic Arts, the series' publisher.[255]

In February 2007, Woods, Roger Federer and Thierry Henry became ambassadors for the "Gillette Champions" marketing campaign. Gillette did not disclose financial terms, though an expert estimated the deal could total between $10 million and $20 million.[255]

In October 2007, Gatorade announced that Woods would have his own brand of sports drink starting in March 2008. "Gatorade Tiger" was his first U.S. deal with a beverage company and his first licensing agreement. Although no figures were officially disclosed, Golfweek magazine reported that it was for five years and could pay him as much as $100 million.[255] The company decided in early fall 2009 to discontinue the drink due to weak sales.[14]

In July 2011, Woods appeared on a 15-second Japanese television commercial, endorsing a heat backrub by Kowa Co., the Vantelin Kowa rub. Details of the deal, which was made in late 2010, were not disclosed.[14]

In October 2012, it was announced that Woods had signed an exclusive endorsement deal with Fuse Science, Inc, a sports nutrition firm.[14]

In 1997, Woods and golfer Arnold Palmer initiated a case against Bruce Matthews (the owner of Gotta Have It Golf, Inc.) and others in the effort to stop the unauthorized sale of their images and alleged signatures in the memorabilia market. Matthews and associated parties counterclaimed that Woods and his company, ETW Corporation, committed several acts including breach of contract, breach of implied duty of good faith, and violations of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.[14] Palmer was also named in the counter-suit, accused of violating the same licensing agreement in conjunction with his company Arnold Palmer Enterprises.

On March 12, 2014, a Florida jury ruled in favor of Gotta Have It on its breach of contract and other related claims, rejected ETW's counterclaims, and awarded Gotta Have It $668,346 in damages.[14][14] The award may end up exceeding $1 million once interest has been factored in, though the ruling may be appealed.

In August 2016, Woods announced that he would be seeking a new golf equipment partner[14] after the news of Nike's exit from the equipment industry.[14] It was announced on January 25, 2017, that he would be signing a new club deal with TaylorMade.[14] He added the 2016 M2 driver along with the 2017 M1 fairway woods, with irons to be custom made at a later date. He also added his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS, a club he used to win 13 of his 14 majors.[14] Also, in late 2016, he would add Monster Energy as his primary bag sponsor, replacing MusclePharm.[15]

Accumulated wealth

According to Golf Digest, Woods made $769,440,709 from 1996 to 2007,[15] and the magazine predicted that by 2010, Woods would pass one billion dollars in earnings.[15] In 2009, Forbes confirmed that Woods was indeed the world's first athlete to earn over a billion dollars (before taxes) in his career, after accounting for the $10 million bonus Woods received for the FedEx Cup title.[15][15] The same year, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $600 million, making him the second richest person of color in the United States, behind only Oprah Winfrey.[15] In 2015, Woods ranked ninth in Forbes' list of world's highest-paid athletes, being the top among Asian Americans or the fourth among African Americans.[15]

Tiger-proofing

Early in Woods' career, a small number of golf experts expressed concern about his impact on the competitiveness of the game and the public appeal of professional golf. Sportswriter Bill Lyon of Knight-Ridder asked in a column, "Isn't Tiger Woods actually bad for golf?" (though Lyon ultimately concluded that he was not). At first, some pundits feared that Woods would drive the spirit of competition out of the game of golf by making existing courses obsolete and relegating opponents to simply competing for second place each week.

A related effect was measured by economist Jennifer Brown of the University of California who found that other golfers played worse when competing against Woods than when he was not in the tournament. The scores of highly skilled (exempt) golfers are nearly one stroke higher when playing against Woods. This effect was larger when he was on winning streaks and disappeared during his well-publicized slump in 2003–04. Brown explains the results by noting that competitors of similar skill can hope to win by increasing their level of effort, but that, when facing a "superstar" competitor, extra exertion does not significantly raise one's level of winning while increasing risk of injury or exhaustion, leading to reduced effort.[15]

Many courses in the PGA Tour rotation (including major championship sites like Augusta National) have added yardage to their tees in an effort to reduce the advantage of long hitters like Woods, a strategy that became known as "Tiger-Proofing". Woods said he welcomed the change, in that adding yardage to courses did not affect his ability to win.[141]

Career achievements

Woods has won 79 official PGA Tour events, including 14 majors. He was 14–1 when going into the final round of a major with at least a share of the lead. He has been heralded as "the greatest closer in history" by multiple golf experts.[142][143][144] He owns the lowest career scoring average and the most career earnings of any player in PGA Tour history.

Woods' victory at the 2013 Players Championship also marked a win in his 300th PGA Tour start.[145] He also won golf tournaments in his 100th (in 2000) and 200th (in 2006) tour starts.[146][147]

Woods has spent the most consecutive and cumulative weeks atop the world rankings. He is one of five players (along with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus) to have won all four professional major championships in his career, known as the Career Grand Slam, and was the youngest to do so. Woods is the only player to have won all four professional major championships in a row, accomplishing the feat in the 2000–2001 seasons.

Major championships

Wins (14)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner(s)-up
1997Masters Tournament099 shot lead-18−18 (70-66-65-69=270)1212 strokes Tom Kite
1999PGA Championship00Tied for lead-11−11 (70-67-68-72=277)011 stroke
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Woods checking his drive in 2007
Sergio García
2000U.S. Open1010 shot lead-12−12 (65-69-71-67=272)1515 strokes
Image
Woods visiting aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) in the Persian Gulf before participating in the 2004 Dubai Desert Classic
Ernie Els,
Image
Woods preparing for a photo shoot in 2006
Miguel Ángel Jiménez
2000The Open Championship066 shot lead-19−19 (67-66-67-69=269)088 strokes Thomas Bjørn, Ernie Els
2000PGA Championship (2)011 shot lead-18−18 (66-67-70-67=270)00Playoff1 Bob May
2001Masters Tournament (2)011 shot lead-16−16 (70-66-68-68=272)022 strokes David Duval
2002Masters Tournament (3)00Tied for lead-12−12 (70-69-66-71=276)033 strokes Retief Goosen
2002U.S. Open (2)044 shot lead-03−3 (67-68-70-72=277)033 strokes Phil Mickelson
2005Masters Tournament (4)033 shot lead-12−12 (74-66-65-71=276)00Playoff2 Chris DiMarco
2005The Open Championship (2)022 shot lead-14−14 (66-67-71-70=274)055 strokes Colin Montgomerie
2006The Open Championship (3)011 shot lead-18−18 (67-65-71-67=270)022 strokes Chris DiMarco
2006PGA Championship (3)00Tied for lead-18−18 (69-68-65-68=270)055 strokes Shaun Micheel
2007PGA Championship (4)033 shot lead-08−8 (71-63-69-69=272)022 strokes Woody Austin
2008U.S. Open (3)011 shot lead-01−1 (72-68-70-73=283)00Playoff3 Rocco Mediate

1Defeated May in three-hole playoff by 1 stroke: Woods (3-4-5=12), May (4-4-5=13)
2Defeated DiMarco in a sudden-death playoff: Woods (3) and DiMarco (4).
3Defeated Mediate with a par on 1st sudden death hole after 18-hole playoff was tied at even par

Results timeline

Tournament19951996199719981999
Masters TournamentT41 LACUT1T8T18
U.S. OpenWDT82T19T18T3
The Open ChampionshipT68T22 LAT243T7
PGA ChampionshipT29T101
Tournament2000200120022003200420052006200720082009
Masters Tournament511T15T221T3T22T6
U.S. Open1T121T20T172CUTT21T6
The Open Championship1T25T28T4T911T12CUT
PGA Championship1T292T39T24T4112
Tournament201020112012201320142015
Masters TournamentT4T4T40T4T17
U.S. OpenT4T21T32CUT
The Open ChampionshipT23T3T669CUT
PGA ChampionshipT28CUTT11T40CUTCUT
  •   Win
  •   Top 10
  •   Did not play
  • LA = Low amateur
  • CUT = missed the half-way cut
  • WD = withdrew
  • "T" indicates a tie for a place

Summary

TournamentWins2nd3rdTop-5Top-10Top-25EventsCuts made
Masters Tournament4211113172019
U.S. Open32178141916
The Open Championship30269141917
PGA Championship42078101815
Totals14643138557667
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 39 (1996 U.S. Open – 2006 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 8 (1999 U.S. Open – 2001 Masters)

World Golf Championships

Wins (18)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner(s)-up
1999WGC-NEC Invitational055 shot lead-10−10 (66-71-62-71=270)011 stroke Phil Mickelson
1999WGC-American Express Championship-031 shot deficit-06–6 (71-69-70-68=278)00Playoff 1 Miguel Ángel Jiménez
2000WGC-NEC Invitational (2)099 shot lead-21−21 (64-61-67-67=259)1111 strokes Justin Leonard, Phillip Price
2001WGC-NEC Invitational (3)-022 shot deficit-12−12 (66-67-66-69=268)00Playoff 2 Jim Furyk
2002WGC-American Express Championship (2)055 shot lead-25−25 (65-65-67-66=263)011 stroke Retief Goosen
2003WGC-Accenture Match Play Championshipn/an/an/a2 & 1n/an/a David Toms
2003WGC-American Express Championship (3)022 shot lead-06−6 (67-66-69-72=274)022 strokes Stuart Appleby, Tim Herron, Vijay Singh
2004WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship (2)n/an/an/a3 & 2n/an/a Davis Love III
2005WGC-NEC Invitational (4)00Tied for lead-06−6 (66-70-67-71=274)011 stroke Chris DiMarco
2005WGC-American Express Championship (4)-022 shot deficit-10−10 (67-68-68-67=270)00Playoff 3 John Daly
2006WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (5)-031 shot deficit-10−10 (67-64-71-68=270)00Playoff 4 Stewart Cink
2006WGC-American Express Championship (5)066 shot lead-23−23 (63-64-67-67=261)088 strokes Ian Poulter, Adam Scott
2007WGC-CA Championship (6)044 shot lead-10−10 (71-66-68-73=278)022 strokes Brett Wetterich
2007WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (6)-031 shot deficit-08−8 (68-70-69-65=272)088 strokes Justin Rose, Rory Sabbatini
2008WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship (3)n/an/an/a8 & 7n/an/a Stewart Cink
2009WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (7)-013 shot deficit-12−12 (68-70-65-65=268)044 strokes Robert Allenby, Pádraig Harrington
2013WGC-Cadillac Championship (7)044 shot lead-19−19 (66-65-67-71=269)022 strokes Steve Stricker
2013WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (8)077 shot lead-15−15 (66-61-68-70=265)077 strokes Keegan Bradley, Henrik Stenson
  • 1 Won on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff
  • 2 Won on the seventh hole of a sudden-death playoff
  • 3 Won on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff
  • 4 Won on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff

Results timeline

Tournament1999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Accenture Match Play ChampionshipQF2DNPR6411R32R16R161R32DNPR64R32R64DNP
Cadillac Championship1T5NT11191115T9DNPT10WD1T25
Bridgestone Invitational1114T4T2111DNP1T78T37T81WD
HSBC ChampionsT6T6DNPDNPDNPDNP
  • 1 Canceled following the September 11 attacks.
  • DNP = did not play
  • QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
  • WD = withdrew
  • NT = No tournament
  • "T" = tied
  • Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.
  • Note that the HSBC Champions did not become a WGC event until 2009.

PGA Tour career summary

SeasonStartsCuts
made
Wins (majors)2nd3rdTop
10
Top
25
Earnings
($)
Money
list rank
19921000000
19933000000
19943000000
19954300000
1996111020258790,59424
199721204 (1)119142,066,8331
1998201912213171,841,1174
199921218 (1)1216186,616,5851
200020209 (3)4117209,188,3211
200119195 (1)019185,687,7771
200218185 (2)2213166,912,6251
2003181852012166,673,4132
2004191913314185,365,4724
200521196 (2)42131710,628,0241
200615148 (2)1111139,941,5631
200716167 (1)30121510,867,0521
2008664 (1)10665,775,0002
20091716630141610,508,1631
20101211000271,294,76568
20119700023660,238128
201219173129136,133,1582
201316165108108,553,4391
20147500001108,275201
201511600013448,598162
201600000000n/a
201710000000n/a
Career*32830079 (14)2919186249110,061,0121 [59]

*As of the 2017 season.

Playing style

When Woods first joined the PGA Tour in 1996, his long drives had a large impact on the world of golf.[151][152] However, when he did not upgrade his equipment in the following years (insisting upon the use of True Temper Dynamic Gold steel-shafted clubs and smaller steel clubheads that promoted accuracy over distance),[153] many opponents caught up to him. Phil Mickelson even made a joke in 2003 about Woods using "inferior equipment", which did not sit well with Nike, Titleist or Woods.[154][155] During 2004, Woods finally upgraded his driver technology to a larger clubhead and graphite shaft, which, coupled with his clubhead speed, made him one of the Tour's lengthiest players off the tee once again.

Despite his power advantage, Woods has always focused on developing an excellent all-around game. Although in recent years he has typically been near the bottom of the Tour rankings in driving accuracy, his iron play is generally accurate, his recovery and bunker play is very strong, and his putting (especially under pressure) is possibly his greatest asset. He is largely responsible for a shift to higher standards of athleticism amongst professional golfers, and is known for utilizing more hours of practice than most.[157][159][160]

From mid-1993 (while he was still an amateur) until 2004, Woods worked almost exclusively with leading swing coach Butch Harmon. From mid-1997, Harmon and Woods fashioned a major redevelopment of Woods' full swing, achieving greater consistency, better distance control, and better kinesiology. The changes began to pay off in 1999. From March 2004 to 2010, Woods was coached by Hank Haney, who worked on flattening his swing plane. Woods continued to win tournaments with Haney, but his driving accuracy dropped significantly. Haney resigned in May 2010 and was replaced by Sean Foley.[10]

Fluff Cowan served as Woods' caddie from the start of his professional career until Tiger fired him in March 1999. He was replaced by Steve Williams, who became a close friend of Woods and is often credited with helping him with key shots and putts.[163] In June 2011, Woods fired Williams and replaced him with friend Bryon Bell on an interim basis. Joe LaCava, a former caddie of both Fred Couples and Dustin Johnson, was hired by Woods shortly after[4] and has remained Woods' caddie since then, but he has seen very limited work.

Equipment

As of 2017 Omega Dubai Desert Classic:

  • Driver: TaylorMade M2 (9.5-degree; Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 70TX)
  • Fairway woods: TaylorMade M1 15 & 19 Degree (Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 90TX)
  • Irons: Nike VR Pro (3-PW) (True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100) All irons are 1-degree upright, have D4 swingweight, standard size Tour Velvet grips and True Temper Dynamic Gold X-100 shafts. He announced he is working with TaylorMade to build custom irons[4]
  • Wedges: Nike VR Forged (56 and 60-degree; True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts)
  • Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS with Ping Blackout PP58 Grip
  • Ball: Bridgestone B330S (with "Tiger" imprint)
  • Golf glove: Nike Dri-FIT Tour glove
  • Golf shoes: Nike TW '17[4]
  • Driver club cover: Frank, a plush tiger head club cover created by his mother. Frank has appeared in several commercials.[168][4]
  • Wood covers: Stitch Brand with TGR Logo.
  • Putter cover: Nike Putter Cover.[4]

Other ventures

Tiger Woods Foundation

The Tiger Woods Foundation was established in 1996 by Woods and his father Earl, with the primary goal of promoting golf among inner-city children.[4][4] The foundation has conducted junior golf clinics across the country, and sponsors the Tiger Woods Foundation National Junior Golf Team in the Junior World Golf Championships.[169][4] As of December 2010, TWF employed approximately 55 people.[171]

The foundation operates the Tiger Woods Learning Center, a $50 million, 35,000-square-foot (3,250 m²) facility in Anaheim, California, providing college-access programs for underserved youth.[169][171][173] The TWLC opened in 2006 and features seven classrooms, extensive multi-media facilities and an outdoor golf teaching area.[169] The center has since expanded to four additional campuses: two in Washington, D.C.; one in Philadelphia; and one in Stuart, Florida.[173]

The foundation benefits from the annual Chevron World Challenge and AT&T National golf tournaments hosted by Woods.[171] In October 2011, the foundation hosted the first Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach.[174] Other annual fundraisers have included the concert events Block Party, last held in 2009 in Anaheim, and Tiger Jam, last held in 2011 in Las Vegas after a one-year hiatus.[171][175][176][177]

Tiger Woods Design

In November 2006, Woods announced his intention to begin designing golf courses around the world through a new company, Tiger Woods Design.[178] A month later, he announced that the company's first course would be in Dubai as part of a 25.3 million-square-foot development, The Tiger Woods Dubai. The Al Ruwaya Golf Course was initially expected to finish construction in 2009. As of February 2010, only seven holes had been completed; in April 2011, The New York Times reported that the project had been shelved permanently. In 2013, the partnership between Tiger Woods Design and Dubai Holding was dissolved.[20]

Tiger Woods Design has taken on two other courses, neither of which has materialized. In August 2007, Woods announced The Cliffs at High Carolina, a private course in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina.[20] After a groundbreaking in November 2008, the project suffered cash flow problems and suspended construction. A third course, in Punta Brava, Mexico, was announced in October 2008, but incurred delays due to issues with permits and an environmental impact study.[20] Construction on the Punta Brava course has not yet begun.

The problems encountered by these projects have been credited to factors including overly optimistic estimates of their value; declines throughout the global economy, particularly the U.S. crash in home prices; and decreased appeal of Woods following his 2009 infidelity scandal.

Writings

Woods wrote a golf instruction column for Golf Digest magazine from 1997 to February 2011.[20] In 2001 he wrote a best-selling golf instruction book, How I Play Golf, which had the largest print run of any golf book for its first edition, 1.5 million copies.[20] In March 2017, he published a memoir, The 1997 Masters: My Story, co-authored by Lorne Rubenstein, which focuses on his first Masters win.[20]

Personal life

Marriage and children

In November 2003, Woods became engaged to Elin Nordegren, a Swedish former model and daughter of former minister of migration Barbro Holmberg and radio journalist Thomas Nordegren.[20] They were introduced during The Open Championship in 2001 by Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik, who had employed her as an au pair. They married on October 5, 2004, at the Sandy Lane resort in Barbados, and lived at Isleworth, a community in Windermere, a suburb of Orlando, Florida.[20] In 2006, they purchased a $39-million estate in Jupiter Island, Florida, and began constructing a 10,000-square-foot home; Woods moved there in 2010 following the couple's divorce.[6][21]

Woods' and Nordegren's first child, a daughter named Sam Alexis Woods, was born in 2007. Woods chose the name because his own father had always called him Sam.[21] Their son, Charlie Axel Woods, was born in 2009.[21]

Infidelity scandal and fallout

In November 2009, the National Enquirer published a story claiming that Woods had an extramarital affair with New York City nightclub manager Rachel Uchitel, who denied the claim.[21] Two days later, around 2:30 a.m. on November 27, Woods left home in his Cadillac Escalade SUV and, while still on his street, collided with a fire hydrant, a tree, and several hedges. He was treated for minor facial lacerations and received a ticket for careless driving.[21] Following intense media speculation about the cause of the accident, Woods released a statement on his website and took sole responsibility for the accident, calling it a "private matter" and crediting his wife for helping him from the car.[21][21] On November 30, Woods announced that he would not be appearing at his own charity golf tournament, the Chevron World Challenge, nor any other tournaments in 2009, due to his injuries.[198]

On December 2, following Us Weekly's prior day reporting of a purported mistress and subsequent release of a voicemail message allegedly left by Woods for the woman,[199] Woods released a further statement; there, he admitted "transgressions" and apologized to "all of those who have supported [him] over the years", while reiterating his and his family's right to privacy.[200] Over the next few days, more than a dozen women claimed in various media outlets to have had affairs with Woods.[8] On December 11, he released a third statement admitting to infidelity and apologizing again, as well as announcing that he would be taking "an indefinite break from professional golf."[8]

In the days and months following Woods' admission of multiple infidelities, several companies re-evaluated their relationships with him. Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and General Motors completely ended their sponsorship deals, while Gillette suspended advertising featuring Woods.[83][201][202] TAG Heuer dropped Woods from advertising in December 2009 and officially ended their deal when his contract expired in August 2011.[83][203] Golf Digest suspended Woods' monthly column beginning with the February 2010 issue. In contrast, Nike continued to support Woods, as did Electronic Arts, which was working with Woods on the game Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online.[204] A December 2009 study estimated the shareholder loss caused by Woods' affairs to be between $5 billion and $12 billion.[205]

On February 19, 2010, Woods gave a televised statement in which he said he had been in a 45-day therapy program since the end of December. He again apologized for his actions. "I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to," he said. "I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them. I was wrong. I was foolish." He said he did not know yet when he would be returning to golf.[82][206] He announced a few weeks later on March 16 that he would be returning at the 2010 Masters Tournament on April 8.[207]

Woods and his wife Elin divorced on August 23, 2010.[258]

2017 arrest

On May 29, 2017, Woods was arrested near Jupiter, Florida by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office at about 3:00 am EDT for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He was asleep in his car, which, although running, was stopped in a traffic lane. He later stated that he was taking drugs prescribed to him and did not realize how they might interact together.[258][258][258] On July 3, 2017, Woods tweeted that he had completed an out of state intensive program to tackle an unspecified issue.[258] On August 9, 2017, Woods, who skipped his arraignment,[258] entered a not guilty plea through his attorney Douglas Duncan and agreed to take part in a first time DUI offender program and hold another arraignment on October 25.[258] At a hearing on October 27, Woods pled guilty to reckless driving. He received a year of probation, was fined $250, and ordered to undergo 50 hours of community service along with regular drug tests, and was not allowed to drink alcohol during his time of probation.[311] If he violated his probation, he would have been sentenced to 90 days in jail with an additional $500 fine.[311]

Other pursuits

From childhood, Woods was raised as a Buddhist, and he actively practiced this faith from childhood until well into his adult professional golf career.[258] In a 2000 article, Woods was quoted as saying he "believes in Buddhism... Not every aspect, but most of it."[258] He has attributed his deviations and infidelity to his losing track of Buddhism. He said, "Buddhism teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught."[213]

Woods is registered to vote as an independent.[214] In January 2009, Woods delivered a speech commemorating the military at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial.[215][216] In April 2009, Woods visited the White House while in the Washington, D.C., area promoting the golf tournament he hosts, the AT&T National.[217] In December 2016 and again in November 2017, Woods played golf with President Donald Trump at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.[313]

Woods underwent laser eye surgery in 1999. Before this surgery, Woods' eyesight was minus 11. He considered the surgery a big help in his career and a good alternative to the glasses and contact lenses.[218] He immediately started winning tour events after the surgery. He received money from TLC Laser Eye Centers to endorse them.[219] In 2007, he had a second laser eye surgery when his vision began to deteriorate again.[220]

On March 18, 2013, Woods announced that he and Olympic gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn were dating. They split up in May 2015.[222]

See also