Background and family
Woods was born in Cypress, California, to Earl (1932–2006) and Kultida (Tida) Woods (born 1944). He is the only child of their marriage but has two half-brothers, Earl Jr. (born 1955) and Kevin (born 1957), and one half-sister, Royce (born 1958) from the 18-year marriage of Earl Woods and his first wife, Barbara Woods Gray. Earl, a retired United States Army lieutenant colonel and Vietnam War veteran, was of mixed African American, Chinese, and Native American ancestry. Kultida (née Punsawad), originally from Thailand, is of mixed Thai, Chinese, and Dutch ancestry. This makes Woods himself half Asian (one-quarter Chinese and one-quarter Thai), one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch. He refers to his ethnic make-up as “Cablinasian” (a syllabic abbreviation he coined from Caucasian, Black, (American) Indian, and Asian).
From childhood he was raised as a Buddhist and actively practised this faith from childhood until well into his adult career. He has attributed his deviations and infidelity to his losing track of Buddhism. He said that "Buddhism teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught."
At birth, Woods was given 'Eldrick' and 'Tont' as first and middle names. His middle name, Tont (Thai: ต้น), is a traditional Thai name. He got his nickname from a Vietnamese soldier friend of his father, Vuong Dang Phong, to whom his father had also given the Tiger nickname. He became generally known by that name and by the time he had achieved national prominence in junior and amateur golf, he was simply known as 'Tiger' Woods.
Early life and amateur golf career
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 grew up in Orange County, California. He was a child prodigy, introduced to golf before the age of two, by his athletic father Earl, who was a good standard amateur golfer and one of the earliest Negro college baseball players at Kansas State University. In 1978, Tiger putted against comedian Bob Hope in a television appearance on The Mike Douglas Show. Before turning three, Tiger entered and won the Under Age 10 section of the Drive, Pitch, and Putt competition, held at the Navy Golf Course in Cypress, California. At age three, he shot a 48 over nine holes over the Cypress Navy course, and at age five, he appeared in Golf Digest and on ABC's That's Incredible. 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. 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.
Woods' father Earl wrote that Tiger first beat him when he was 11 years old, with Earl trying his best. Earl lost to Tiger every time from then on. Woods's first major national junior tournament was the 1989 Big I, when he was 13 years old. Woods was paired with pro John Daly, then relatively unknown, in the final round; 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 impressed Nicklaus and the crowd with his skills and potential.
While attending Western High School in Anaheim at the age of 15, Woods became the youngest ever U.S. Junior Amateur Champion in 1991, was voted Southern California Amateur Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, and Golf Digest Junior Amateur Player of the Year for 1991. In 1992, he defended his title at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, becoming the first multiple winner, competed in his first PGA Tour event, the Nissan Los Angeles Open, and was named Golf Digest Amateur Player of the Year, Golf World Player of the Year, and Golfweek National Amateur of the Year.
The following year, Woods won his third consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, and remains the event's youngest-ever and only multiple winner. In 1994, he became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, a record that stood until 2008 when it was broken by Danny Lee. Woods won over the TPC at Sawgrass in Florida. 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).
Woods graduated from Western High School in 1994 at age 18, 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.
College golfing career
Woods was recruited very heavily by college golf powers, and chose Stanford University, the 1994 NCAA Division I champion. He obtained a golf scholarship and enrolled at Stanford in the fall of 1994. He won his first collegiate event, the 40th Annual William H. Tucker Invitational, in September. He declared a major in economics, and was nicknamed "Urkel" by his college teammates. In 1995, he 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). He participated in his first PGA Tour major, the 1995 Masters Tournament, 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, winning at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Oregon, and won the NCAA individual golf championship. 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.
Tiger Woods giving a driving demonstration aboard the USS George Washington.
1996–98: early years and first major win
With the announcement "Hello world," Tiger Woods became a professional golfer in August 1996, and signed endorsement deals worth $40 million from Nike, Inc. and $20 million from Titleist. These endorsement contracts were the highest in golf history to that stage. He played his first round of professional golf at the Greater Milwaukee Open, tying for 60th place, but went on to win two events in the next three months to qualify for the Tour Championship. For his efforts, Woods was named Sports Illustrated's 1996 Sportsman of the Year and PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. He began his tradition of wearing a red shirt during the final round of tournaments, a link to his college days at Stanford and a color he believes symbolizes aggression and assertiveness.
The following April, Woods won his first major, The Masters, with a record score of 18 under par, by a record margin of 12 strokes, becoming the youngest Masters winner and the first African American to do so. He set a total of 20 Masters records and tied six others. He won another three PGA Tour events that year, and on June 15, 1997, in only his 42nd week as a professional, rose to number one in the Official World Golf Rankings, the fastest-ever ascent to world No. 1. He was named PGA Player of the Year, the first golfer to win the award the year following his rookie season.
While expectations for Woods were high, his form faded in the second half of 1997, and in 1998 he only won one PGA Tour event. He answered critics of his "slump" and what seemed to be wavering form by maintaining he was undergoing extensive swing changes with his coach, Butch Harmon, and was hoping to do better in the future.
In June 1999, Woods won the Memorial Tournament, a victory that marked the beginning of one of the greatest sustained periods of dominance in the history of men's golf. He completed his 1999 campaign by winning his last four starts—including the PGA Championship—and finished the season with eight wins, a feat not achieved since 1974. He was voted PGA Tour Player of the Year and Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for the second time in three years.
Woods started 2000 with his fifth consecutive victory and began a record-setting season, winning three consecutive majors, nine PGA Tour events, and setting or tying 27 Tour records. He went on to capture his sixth consecutive victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with a memorable comeback. Trailing by seven strokes with seven holes to play, he finished eagle-birdie-par-birdie for a 64 and a two-stroke victory. His six consecutive wins were the most since Ben Hogan in 1948 and only five behind Byron Nelson's record of eleven in a row. In the 2000 U.S. Open, he broke or tied a total of nine U.S. Open records with his 15-shot win, including Old Tom Morris's record for the largest victory margin ever in a major championship, which had stood since 1862, and became the Tour's all-time career money leader. He led by a record 10 strokes going into the final round, and Sports Illustrated called it "the greatest performance in golf history." In the 2000 Open Championship at St Andrews, which he won by eight strokes, he set the record for lowest score to par (−19) in any major tournament, and he holds at least a share of that record in all four major championships. At 24, he became the youngest golfer to achieve the Career Grand Slam.
Woods's major championship streak was seriously threatened at the 2000 PGA Championship, however, when Bob May went head-to-head with Woods on Sunday at Valhalla Golf Club. Woods played the last twelve holes of regulation seven under par, and won a three-hole playoff with a birdie on the first hole and pars on the next two. He joined Ben Hogan (1953) as the only other player to win three professional majors in one season. Three weeks later, he won his third straight start on Tour at the Bell Canadian Open, becoming only the second man after Lee Trevino in 1971 to win the Triple Crown of Golf (U.S., British, and Canadian Opens) in one year. Of the twenty events he entered in 2000, he finished in the top three fourteen times. His adjusted scoring average of 67.79 and his actual scoring average of 68.17 were the lowest in PGA Tour history, besting his own record of 68.43 in 1999 and Byron Nelson's average of 68.33 in 1945. He was named the 2000 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, becoming the first and only athlete to be honored twice. Woods was ranked as the twelfth best golfer of all time by Golf Digest magazine just four years after he turned professional.
The following season, Woods continued to dominate. His 2001 Masters Tournament win marked the only time in the modern era of the Grand Slam that any player has held all four major championship titles at the same time, a feat now known as the "Tiger Slam". It is not viewed as a true Grand Slam, however, because it was not achieved in a calendar year. Surprisingly, he was not a factor in the three remaining majors of the year, but finished with the most PGA Tour wins in the season, with five. In 2002, he started off strong, joining Nick Faldo (1989–90) and Jack Nicklaus (1965–66) as the only men to have won back-to-back Masters Tournaments.
Two months later, Woods was the only player under par at the U.S. Open, and resurrected buzz about the calendar Grand Slam, which had eluded him in 2000. All eyes were on Woods at the Open Championship, but his third round score of 81 in dreadful weather at Muirfield ended his Grand Slam hopes. At the PGA Championship, he nearly repeated his 2000 feat of winning three majors in one year, but bogeys at the thirteenth and fourteenth holes in the final round cost him the championship by one stroke. Nonetheless, he took home the money title, Vardon Trophy, and Player of the Year honors for the fourth year in a row.
2003–04: Swing adjustments
Tiger and his father Earl Woods at a press conference at Fort Bragg
Woods putting at Torrey Pines Golf Course during a practice round at the 2008 U.S. Open
The next phase of Woods's career saw him remain among the top competitors on the tour, but lose his dominating edge. He did not win a major in 2003 or 2004, falling to second in the PGA Tour money list in 2003 and fourth in 2004. In September 2004, his record streak of 264 consecutive weeks as the world's top-ranked golfer came to an end at the Deutsche Bank Championship, when Vijay Singh won and overtook Woods in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Many commentators were puzzled by Woods's "slump," offering explanations that ranged from his rift with swing coach Butch Harmon to his marriage. At the same time, he let it be known that he was again working on changes to his swing, this time in hopes of reducing the wear and tear on his surgically repaired left knee, which was subjected to severe stress in the 1998–2003 version of his swing. Again, he anticipated that once the adjustments were complete, he would return to his previous form. Woods changed coaches, working with Hank Haney after leaving Harmon.
In the 2005 season, Woods quickly returned to his winning ways. He won the Buick Invitational in January, and in March he outplayed Phil Mickelson to win the Ford Championship at Doral and temporarily return to the Official World Golf Rankings number one position (Singh displaced him once again two weeks later). In April, he finally broke his "drought" in the majors by winning the 2005 Masters Tournament in a playoff, which regained him the number one spot in the World Rankings. Singh and Woods swapped the #1 position several times over the next couple of months, but by early July Woods had reclaimed the top spot, propelled further by a victory at the 2005 Open Championship, his 10th major. He went on to win six official money events on the PGA Tour in 2005, topping the money list for the sixth time in his career. His 2005 wins also included two at the World Golf Championships.
Woods on the green at The Masters in 2006.
For Woods, the year 2006 was markedly different from 2005. While he began just as dominantly (winning the first two PGA tournaments he entered on the year) and was in the hunt for his fifth Masters championship in April, he never mounted a Sunday charge to defend his title, allowing Phil Mickelson to claim the green jacket.
Death of father
On May 3, 2006, Woods' father, mentor and inspiration, Earl, died after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. Woods took a nine-week hiatus from the PGA Tour to be with his family. When he returned for the 2006 U.S. Open, the rust was evident—he missed the cut at Winged Foot, the first time he had missed the cut at a major as a professional, and ended his record-tying streak of 39 consecutive cuts made at majors. Still, a tie for second at the Western Open just three weeks later showed him poised to defend his Open crown at Hoylake.
Returns to top form
At the 2006 Open Championship, Woods almost exclusively used long irons off the tee (he hit driver only one time the entire week—the 16th hole of the first round), he missed just four fairways all week (hitting the fairway 92 percent of the time), and his score of −18 to par (three eagles, 19 birdies, 43 pars, and seven bogeys) was just one off of his major championship record −19, set at St Andrews in 2000. The victory was an emotional one for Woods, who dedicated his play to his father's memory.
Four weeks later at the 2006 PGA Championship, Woods again won in dominating fashion, making only three bogeys, tying the record for fewest in a major. He finished the tournament at 18-under-par, equaling the to-par record in the PGA that he shares with Bob May from 2000. In August 2006, he won his 50th professional tournament at the Buick Open—and at the age of thirty years and seven months, he became the youngest golfer to do so. He ended the year by winning six consecutive PGA Tour events, and won the three most prestigious awards given by the PGA Tour (Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Byron Nelson Awards) in the same year for a record seventh time.
At the close of his first 11 seasons, Woods's 54 wins and 12 major wins had surpassed the all time eleven-season PGA Tour total win record of 51 (set by Byron Nelson) and total majors record of 11 (set by Jack Nicklaus). He was named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for a record-tying fourth time.
Woods and tennis star Roger Federer, who share a major sponsor, first met at the 2006 U.S. Open tennis final. Since then, they have attended each other's events and have voiced their mutual appreciation for each other's talents.
Woods began 2007 with a two-stroke victory at the Buick Invitational for his third straight win at the event and his seventh consecutive win on the PGA Tour. The victory marked the fifth time he had won his first tournament of the season. With this win, he became the third man (after Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead) to win at least five times in three different events on the PGA Tour (his two other events are the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and WGC-CA Championship). He earned his second victory of the year at the WGC-CA Championship for his third consecutive and sixth win overall at the event. With this victory, he became the first player to have three consecutive victories in five different events.
At the 2007 Masters Tournament, Woods was in the final group on the last day of a major for the thirteenth time in his career, but unlike the previous twelve occasions, he was unable to come away with the win. He finished tied for second two strokes behind winner Zach Johnson.
Tiger Woods drives the ball down range at the inaugural Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am Tournament, part of the AT&T National PGA Tour event, July 2007.
Woods earned his third victory of the season by two strokes at the Wachovia Championship, the 24th different PGA Tour tournament he won. He has collected at least three wins in a season nine times in his 12-year career. At the U.S. Open, he was in the final group for the fourth consecutive major championship, but began the day two strokes back and finished tied for second once again. His streak of never having come from behind to win on the final day of a major continued.
In search of a record-tying third consecutive Open Championship, Woods fell out of contention with a second-round 75, and never mounted a charge over the weekend. Although his putting was solid (he sank a 90-footer in the first round), his iron play held him back. "I wasn't hitting the ball as close as I needed to all week," he said, after he finished tied for twelfth, five strokes off the pace.
In early August, Woods won his record 14th World Golf Championships event at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by 8 strokes for his third consecutive and sixth victory overall at the event. He became the first golfer to win the same event three straight times on two different occasions (1999–2001) and (2005–2007). The following week, he won his second straight PGA Championship by defeating Woody Austin by two strokes. He became the first golfer to win the PGA Championship in back-to-back seasons on two different occasions: 1999–2000 and 2006–2007. He became the second golfer, after Sam Snead, to have won at least five events on the PGA Tour in eight different seasons.
Woods earned his 60th PGA Tour victory at the BMW Championship by shooting a course record 63 in the final round to win by two strokes. He sank a fifty-foot putt in the final round and missed only two fairways on the weekend. He led the field in most birdies for the tournament, and ranked in the top five in driving accuracy, driving distance, putts per round, putts per green, and greens in regulation. Woods finished his 2007 season with a runaway victory at the Tour Championship to capture his fourth title in his last five starts of the year. He became the only two-time winner of the event, and the champion of the inaugural FedEx Cup. In his 16 starts on Tour in 2007, his adjusted scoring average was 67.79, matching his own record set in 2000. His substantial leads over the second, third, and fourth players were similar in 2000 (1.46 (Phil Mickelson), 1.52 (Ernie Els), 1.66 (David Duval)) and 2007 (1.50 (Els), 1.51 (Justin Rose), 1.60 (Steve Stricker)).
2008: injury-shortened season
Woods started the 2008 season with an eight-stroke victory at the Buick Invitational. The win marked his 62nd PGA Tour victory, tying him with Arnold Palmer for fourth on the all time list. This marked his sixth victory at the event, the sixth time he has begun the PGA Tour season with a victory, and his third PGA Tour win in a row. The following week, he was trailing by four strokes going into the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic, but made six birdies on the back nine for a dramatic one-stroke victory. He took home his 15th World Golf Championships event at the Accenture Match Play Championship with a record-breaking 8 & 7 victory in the final.
In his next event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods got off to a slow start, finishing the first round at even par and tied for 34th place. After finishing the third round in a five-way tie for first place, he completed his fifth consecutive PGA Tour victory with a dramatic 24-foot putt on the 18th hole to defeat Bart Bryant by a stroke. It was also his fifth career victory in this event. Geoff Ogilvy stopped Woods's run at the WGC-CA Championship, a tournament Woods had won in each of the previous three years. He remains the only golfer to have had more than one streak of at least five straight wins on the PGA Tour.
Despite bold predictions that Woods might again challenge for the Grand Slam, he did not mount a serious charge at the 2008 Masters Tournament, struggling with his putter through each round. He would still finish alone in second, three strokes behind the champion, Trevor Immelman. On April 15, 2008, he underwent his third left knee arthroscopic surgery in Park City, Utah, and missed two months on the PGA Tour. The first surgery he had was in 1994 when he had a benign tumor removed and the second in December 2002. He was named Men's Fitness's Fittest Athlete in the June/July 2008 issue.
Tiger Woods walks off the 8th green at Torrey Pines during a practice round at the 2008 U.S. Open
Woods returned for the 2008 U.S. Open in one of the most anticipated golfing groupings in history between him, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott, the top three golfers in the world. Woods struggled the first day on the course, notching a double bogey on his first hole. He would end the round at +1 (72), four shots off the lead. He scored −3 (68) his second day, still paired with Mickelson, managing 5 birdies, 1 eagle and 4 bogeys. On the third day of the tournament, he started off with a double bogey once again and was trailing by 5 shots with six holes to play. However, he finished the round by making 2 eagle putts, a combined 100 feet (30 m) in length, and a chip-in birdie to take a one shot lead into the final round. His final putt assured that he would be in the final group for the sixth time in the last eight major championships.
On Sunday, June 15, Woods began the day with another double bogey, and trailed Rocco Mediate by one stroke after 71 holes. He winced after several of his tee shots, and sometimes made an effort to keep weight off of his left foot. Woods was behind by one stroke when he reached the final hole. Left with a 12-foot putt for birdie, he made the shot to force an 18-hole playoff with Mediate on Monday. Despite leading by as many as three strokes at one point in the playoff, Woods again dropped back and needed to birdie the 18th to force sudden death with Mediate, and did so. Woods made par on the first sudden death hole; Mediate subsequently missed his par putt, giving Woods his 14th major championship. After the tournament, 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."
Two days after winning the U.S. Open, Woods announced that he would be required to undergo reconstructive anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery on his left knee and would miss the remainder of the 2008 golf season including the final two major championships: The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship. Woods also revealed that he had been playing for at least 10 months with a torn ligament in his left knee, and sustained a double stress fracture in his left tibia while rehabbing after the surgery he had after the Masters. Publications throughout the world asserted his U.S. Open victory as "epic" and praised his efforts especially after learning of the extent of his knee injury. Woods called it "My greatest ever championship – the best of the 14 because of all the things that have gone on over the past week."
Woods' absence from the remainder of the season caused PGA Tour TV ratings to decline. Overall viewership for the second half of the 2008 season saw a 46.8 percent decline as compared to 2007.
2009: returning to the PGA Tour
Called "one of the most anticipated returns in sports" by the Associated Press, Woods' first PGA Tour event after an eight month layoff came at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He lost to Tim Clark in the second round. His first stroke play event was the WGC-CA Championship at Doral where he finished 9th (−11). Woods won his first title of the year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he was five strokes behind Sean O'Hair entering the final round. Woods shot a final round 67 and made a 16-foot birdie putt at the final hole to defeat O'Hair by one stroke. Afterwards, he would continue to perform consistently. At The Masters, he finished sixth, four strokes behind eventual winner Ángel Cabrera. Then, despite having the 18-hole lead at the Quail Hollow Championship, he finished two strokes behind Sean O'Hair. At The Players Championship, he played in the final grouping on Sunday, but finished eighth.
Woods won his second event of 2009 at the Memorial Tournament. He trailed by four shots after three rounds but shot a final round 65, which included two consecutive birdies to end the tournament. The win was Woods' fourth at the event. Woods won his third event of the 2009 season on July 5 at the AT&T National, an event hosted by Woods himself. However, for the third time going into a 2009 major, Woods failed to capitalize on his preceding win. Instead, at the 2009 Open Championship, he missed the cut for only the second time in a major championship since turning professional.
On August 2, Woods captured the Buick Open for his fourth win of the season, a three-shot victory over three other players. After firing an opening-round 71 that put him in 95th place and outside of the cutline, Woods responded with a second-round 63, nine-under par, that vaulted him into contention. A third-round 65 put him atop the leaderboard and he coasted to victory with a final-round 69 for a 20-under 268 four-round total. This was the biggest turnaround pro victory to date.
Woods won his 70th career event the following week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He went head-to-head against Pádraig Harrington on Sunday until the 16th, where Harrington made a triple bogey 8 on the par 5 and Woods made birdie. Tiger went on to win the event by 4 strokes over Harrington and Robert Allenby.
At the 2009 PGA Championship, Woods shot a 5-under 67 to take the lead after the first round. He remained leader or co-leader through the second and third rounds. Going into the final round, Woods had a 2 stroke lead at 8-under. However, at the 68th hole, Woods was overtaken for the first time atop the leaderboard by Yang Yong-eun. Yang eventually won the tournament by three strokes over Woods who finished second. It marked the first time that Woods would fail to win a major when leading or co-leading after 54 holes and the first time he had lost any tournament on American soil when leading by more than one shot. It also meant that Woods would end the year without a major for the first time since 2004.
Woods won his 71st career title at the BMW Championship. The win moved him to first place in the FedEx Cup standings going into the final playoff event. It was his fifth win at the BMW Championship (including three wins as the Western Open) and marked the fifth time he had won an event five or more times in his career on the PGA Tour. Woods finished second at The Tour Championship to win his second FedEx Cup title.
At the 2009 Presidents Cup, Woods had an impressive and equally spectacular performance in which he won all five of his matches at the event. He joined his friend Mark O'Meara, who won all five of his matches at the 1996 Presidents Cup, and Shigeki Maruyama, who accomplished this feat in the 1998 Presidents Cup. In all three instances, their respective teams won the competition. Woods was paired with Steve Stricker all four rounds of the competition in foursomes and four-ball. On the first day of foursomes, they won 6 and 4 over the team of Ryo Ishikawa and Geoff Ogilvy. In Friday's match of four-ball, they won over the team of Ángel Cabrera and Geoff Ogilvy, 5 and 3. On Saturday, they beat the team of Tim Clark and Mike Weir after trailing for most of the match by winning the 17th and 18th holes to win 1-up in morning foursomes, and in the afternoon four-ball they defeated the team of Ryo Ishikawa and Y. E. Yang by the score of 4 and 2. In the singles match, Woods was paired with his nemesis from the 2009 PGA Championship, Yang. Yang grabbed the quick 1-up lead on the first hole, but on the third hole lost the lead and Woods went onto win the match by a score of 6 and 5. In addition, Woods was the one who clinched the Cup for the United States, which was his first time ever in his career he had the honor and opportunity to do this in a team event competition.
In November 2009, Woods was paid $3.3 million to play in the JBWere Masters, held at Kingston Heath in Melbourne, Australia from November 12 to 15. The event was sold out for the first time. He went on to win at 14 under par, two strokes over Australian Greg Chalmers, marking his 38th European Tour win and his first win on the PGA Tour of Australasia.
After his past marital infidelities came to light, Woods announced an indefinite break from competitive golf at the end of 2009. In March 2010, he announced that he would be playing in the 2010 Masters. In late March, he began working on a new commercial for longstanding sponsor Nike.
Missing the start of the 2010 season, Woods returned to competition for the 2010 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, starting on April 8, 2010, after a break lasting 20 weeks. He finished the tournament tied for fourth. Woods next competed at the 2010 Quail Hollow Championship at the end of April, but missed the cut for just the sixth time of his career. He shot his second-worst round as a professional on 30 April, a 7-over 79 during the second round to miss the 36-hole cut by eight strokes. Woods withdrew from The Players Championship during the fourth round, on May 9, later citing a neck injury. He had scored 70-71-71 in the first three rounds, and was two over par for the round, while playing the seventh hole, when he withdrew. Woods returned to competitive golf four weeks later to defend his title at The Memorial Tournament. He made the cut and went on to finish T19, his worst finish in that tournament since 2002. His next competitive tournament began June 17, 2010 at the U.S. Open held at Pebble Beach, the site of his 2000 win by a record 15 shots. After a relatively unspectacular performance through the first two rounds, Woods showed signs of his pre-2010 form, as he managed a back nine 31 in route to shooting a five-under-par 66 on Saturday, which would tie for the low round of the tournament and put him back into contention. However, he was unable to mount a charge on Sunday, despite the collapse of 54 hole leader Dustin Johnson, and went on to finish the tournament at three-over-par and in a tie for fourth place, repeating his top-5 result at the 2010 Masters Tournament.
Woods then played in the AT&T National in late June, which he used to host. He was the favorite among many coming into his former tournament, but he struggled all four days of the tournament and failed to post a round under par tying for 46th place.
Woods then flew to Ireland to play in a 2-day charity event – the JP McManus Pro-Am – and then flew home to Florida to "see his kids" before preparing for The Open Championship just over a week later. He changed his putter for the Open Championship at St Andrews, saying he always struggled on slow greens and needed this new Nike Method 001 putter to "get the ball rolling faster and better". It was the first time Woods had used any other putter than his Titleist Scotty Cameron since 1999. Woods putted well the first day of the tournament, shooting a 5-under, but wind gusts of over 40 mph suspended play for 66 minutes the next day at St Andrews, and Woods was never able to get anything going. It was the same story Saturday. He missed short putts over and over again. He changed his putter back to his old Scotty Cameron for the final round, but did not putt any better. Woods finished 3-under overall, 13 shots behind winner Louis Oosthuizen (tied for 23rd place).
Woods finished in 18-over par tying for 78th place (second-to-last place) in the Bridgestone Invitational on August 8. Woods posted his worst four-round result as a professional golfer.
Woods practicing before 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
When Woods first joined the professional tour in 1996, his long drives had a large impact on the world of golf. 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), 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. 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 lengthier 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 putting in more hours of practice than most.
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. Since March 2004, Woods has been coached by Hank Haney, who has worked on flattening his swing plane. Woods has continued to win tournaments with Haney, but his driving accuracy has dropped significantly since his move from Harmon. In June 2004, Woods was involved in a media spat with Harmon, who also works as a golf broadcaster, when Harmon suggested that he was in "denial" about the problems in his game, but they publicly patched up their differences.
Haney announced that he was stepping down as Woods' coach on May 10, 2010.
As of 2010:
* Driver: Nike VR Tour Driver (9.5 degrees; Mitsubishi Diamana Whiteboard 83g shaft)
* Fairway Woods: Nike SQ II 15° 3-wood with Mitsubishi Diamana Blueboard and Nike SQ II 19° 5-Wood
* Irons: Nike VR Forged TW Blade (2-PW) (Tiger will put his 5 Wood or 2 Iron in the bag depending upon the course setup and conditions). All irons are 1 degree upright, have D4 swingweight, standard size Tour Velvet grips and True Temper Dynamic Gold X-100 shafts.
* Wedges: Nike VR 56° Sand Wedge and Nike SV 60° Lob Wedge
* Putter: Scotty Cameron By Titleist GSS Newport 2 putter (standard loft and lie, 35 inches long) Championship
* Ball: Nike ONE Tour (only "1"s with "Tiger" imprint)
* Golf Glove: Nike Dri-FIT Tour glove
* Golf Shoes: Nike Air Zoom TW 2010
* Club Cover: Frank, a plush tiger head club cover created by his mother, which has appeared in several commercials.
* Fairway wood "Kiwi" bird headcover relates to the nationality of his caddie Steve Williams (New Zealand).
Other ventures and aspects
Charity and youth projects
Woods has established several charitable and youth projects.
* The Tiger Woods Foundation: The Tiger Woods Foundation was established in 1996 by Woods and his father Earl. It focuses on projects for children. Initially these comprised golf clinics (aimed especially at disadvantaged children), and a grant program. Further activities added since then include university scholarships, an association with Target House at St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee; the Start Something character development program, which reached one million participants by 2003; and the Tiger Woods Learning Center. The Tiger Woods Foundation recently has teamed up with the PGA Tour to create a new PGA tour event that will take place in the nation's capital (Washington, D.C.) beginning in July, 2007.
* In The City Golf Clinics and Festivals: Since 1997, the Tiger Woods Foundation has conducted junior golf clinics across the country. The Foundation began the “In the City” golf clinic program in 2003. The first three clinics were held in Indio, California, Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and were targeted to all youth, ages 7–17, and their families. Each three-day event features golf lessons on Thursday and Friday of clinic week and a free community festival on Saturday. Host cities invite 15 junior golfers to participate in the annual Tiger Woods Foundation Youth Clinic. This three-day junior golf event includes tickets to Disney Resorts, a junior golf clinic, and an exhibition by Tiger Woods.
* Tiger Woods Learning Center: This is a 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) educational facility in Anaheim, California which opened in February 2006. It is expected to be used by several thousand students each year in grades 4 to 12. The center features seven classrooms, extensive multi-media facilities and an outdoor golf teaching area.
* Tiger Jam: An annual fundraising concert which has raised over $10 million for the Tiger Woods Foundation. Past performers at Tiger Jam include Sting, Bon Jovi and Stevie Wonder.
* Chevron World Challenge: An annual off-season charity golf tournament. The event carries generous prize money, and in 2007 Woods donated his $1.35 million first-place check to his Learning Center.
* Tiger Woods Foundation National Junior Golf Team: An eighteen member team which competes in the annual Junior World Golf Championships.
Woods has also participated in charity work for his current caddy, Steve Williams. On April 24, 2006 Woods won an auto racing event that benefited the Steve Williams Foundation to raise funds to provide sporting careers for disadvantaged youth.
Woods has written a golf instruction column for Golf Digest magazine since 1997, and in 2001 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.
Golf course design
Main article: Tiger Woods Design
Woods announced on December 3, 2006 that he will develop his first golf course in the United Arab Emirates through his golf course design company, Tiger Woods Design. The Tiger Woods Dubai will feature a 7,700-yard (7,000 m), par-72 course named Al Ruwaya (meaning "serenity"), a 60,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) clubhouse, a golf academy, 320 exclusive villas and a boutique hotel with 80 suites. Tiger Woods Dubai is a joint venture between Woods and Tatweer, a member of the government-affiliated Dubai Holding. Woods chose Dubai because he was excited about the "challenge of transforming a desert terrain into a world-class golf course." The development was scheduled to be finished in late 2009 at Dubailand, the region's largest tourism and leisure project. However, economic difficulties in Dubai have delayed the completion of this project.
On August 14, 2007, Woods announced his first course to be designed in the U.S., The Cliffs at High Carolina. The private course will sit at about 4,000 feet (1,200 m) in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina.
Woods will also design a golf course in Mexico. This will be his first oceanfront course. It will be called Punta Brava, which will be located by Ensenada, Baja California. The project will include an 18-hole course designed by Woods, 40 estate lots of up to three acres in size, and 80 villa homes of up to 7,000 square feet. Construction will start in 2009 with the project scheduled for completion in 2011.
Woods preparing for a photo shoot in 2006.
Woods has been called the world's most marketable athlete. Shortly after his 21st birthday in 1996, he began signing 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 endorsing deal ever signed by an athlete at that time. Woods' endorsement has been credited in playing a significant role in taking the Nike Golf brand from a "start-up" golf company earlier in the past decade, to becoming the leading golf apparel company in the world, and a major player in the equipment and golf ball market. Nike Golf is one of the fastest growing brands in the sport, with an estimated $600 million in sales. Woods has been described as the "ultimate endorser" for Nike Golf, frequently seen wearing Nike gear during tournaments, and even in advertisements for other products. Woods receives a cut from the sales of Nike Golf apparel, footwear, golf equipment, golf balls, and has a building named after him at Nike’s headquarters campus in Beaverton, Oregon.
In 2002, Woods was involved in every aspect of the launch of Buick's Rendezvous SUV. A company spokesman stated that Buick is 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, released in April 2005. 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. In 2006, the TAG Heuer Professional Golf Watch won the prestigious iF product design award in the Leisure/Lifestyle category.
Woods also endorses the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series of video games; he has done so since 1999. In 2006, he signed a six-year contract with Electronic Arts, the series' publisher.
In February 2007, along with Roger Federer and Thierry Henry, Woods became an ambassador 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.
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. The company decided in early fall 2009 to discontinue the drink due to weak sales.
According to Golf Digest, Woods made $769,440,709 from 1996 to 2007, and the magazine predicted that by 2010, Woods would pass one billion dollars in earnings. In 2009, Forbes confirmed that Woods was indeed the world's first athlete to earn over a billion dollars in his career (before taxes), after accounting for the 10 million dollar bonus Woods received for the FedEx Cup title. The same year, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $600 million, making him the second richest "African American" behind only Oprah Winfrey.
On August 20, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver 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.
He has been named "Athlete of the Decade" by the Associated Press in December 2009. He has been named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year 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 Tournament, 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 audiences, and for drawing the largest TV audiences in golf history.
Woods meets with United States President Barack Obama in the White House.
Tiger Woods is registered as an independent. In January 2009, Woods delivered a speech commemorating the military at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. 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.
In both Byron Nelson's and Woods's eras, "making the cut" has been defined as receiving a paycheck. However, in Nelson's day, only players who placed in the top 20 (sometimes as few as 15) in an event won a paycheck, whereas in Woods's day only players who reach a low enough score (top 70 and ties for most events) within the first 36 holes win a paycheck. Several golf analysts argue that Woods did not actually surpass Nelson's consecutive cuts mark, reasoning that 31 of the tournaments in which Woods competed were "no-cut" events, meaning all the players in the field were guaranteed to compete throughout the entire event regardless of their scores through 36 holes (and hence all "made the cut," meaning that they all received a paycheck). These analysts argue that this would leave Woods's final consecutive cuts made at 111, and Nelson's at 113.
However, at least ten of the tournaments in which Nelson played did not have modern-day cuts; that is, all of the players in these events were guaranteed to compete past 36 holes. The Masters, for example, did not institute a 36-hole cut until 1957 (which was well after Nelson retired), the PGA Championship was match play until 1958, and it is unclear whether or not three other events in which Nelson competed had 36-hole cuts. Therefore, these analysts remove "no 36-hole cut" events from both cut streak measures, leaving Nelson's consecutive cuts made at 103 (or possibly less) and Woods's at 111.
In the tournaments in which Nelson competed that did not have 36-hole cuts (that is: the Masters, PGA Championship and the possible three other tournaments), only the top 20 players received a paycheck even though all players in these events were guaranteed to compete past 36 holes. Hence, in these no-cut events, Nelson still placed in the top 20, so Nelson's 113 cuts made are reflective of his 113 top 20 finishes. Woods achieved a top 20 finish 21 consecutive times (from July 2000 to July 2001) and, in the 31 no-cut events in which he played, he won 10 and finished out of the top 10 only five times. Others, including Woods himself, argue that the two streaks cannot be compared, because the variation of tournament structures in the two eras is too great for any meaningful comparison to be made.
A more relevant comparison on cut streaks is the 105 consecutive cuts made by Jack Nicklaus between 1970 and 1976, ending at the 1976 World Open. The cut format from that era was virtually identical to the current PGA Tour practice, and most events in Nicklaus' streak, except for the Tournament of Champions (now the SBS Championship), the World Series of Golf (now the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational), and the U.S. Professional Match Play Championship (10 events for Nicklaus) had a cut made after 36 holes.
Early in Woods's 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, Berkeley 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.
Many courses in the PGA Tour rotation (including Major Championship sites like Augusta National) began to add yardage to their tees in an effort to slow down long hitters like Woods, a strategy that became known as "Tiger-Proofing". Woods himself welcomed the change as he believes adding yardage to the course does not affect his ability to win.
Ryder Cup performance
Despite his outstanding success on the PGA Tour, Woods had little success in the Ryder Cup early in his career. In his first Ryder Cup in 1997, he earned only 1½ points competing in every match and partnering mostly with Mark O'Meara. Costantino Rocca defeated Woods in his singles match. In 1999, he earned 2 points over every match with a variety of partners. In 2002, he lost both Friday matches, but, partnered with Davis Love III for both of Saturday's matches, won two points for the Americans, and was slated to anchor the Americans for the singles matches, both squads going into Sunday with 8 points. However, after the Europeans took an early lead, his match with Jesper Parnevik was rendered unimportant and they halved the match. In 2004, he was paired with Phil Mickelson on Friday but lost both matches, and only earned one point on Saturday. With the Americans facing a 5–11 deficit, he won the first singles match, but the team was not able to rally. In 2006, he was paired with Jim Furyk for all of the pairs matches, and they won two of their four matches. Woods won his singles match, one of only three Americans to do so that day. Woods missed the 2008 Ryder Cup competition altogether, as he was recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left knee. Despite Woods' absence, the United States team posted its largest margin of victory in the event since 1981.
Main article: List of career achievements by Tiger Woods
Woods has won 71 official PGA Tour events including 14 majors. He is 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. He owns the lowest career scoring average and the most career earnings of any player in PGA Tour history.
He 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.
When Woods turned pro, Mike "Fluff" Cowan was his caddie until March 8, 1999. He was replaced by Steve Williams, who has become a close friend of Woods and is often credited with helping him with key shots and putts.
* PGA Tour wins (71)
* European Tour wins (38)
* Japan Golf Tour wins (2)
* Asian Tour wins (1)
* PGA Tour of Australasia wins (1)
* Other professional wins (15)
* Amateur wins (21)
Year↓ Championship↓ 54 Holes↓ Winning Score↓ Margin↓ Runner(s)-up↓
1997 Masters Tournament 9 shot lead −18 (70–66–65–69=270) 12 strokes United States Tom Kite
1999 PGA Championship Tied for lead −11 (70–67–68–72=277) 1 stroke Spain Sergio García
2000 U.S. Open 10 shot lead −12 (65–69–71–67=272) 15 strokes South Africa Ernie Els, Spain Miguel Ángel Jiménez
2000 The Open Championship 6 shot lead −19 (67–66–67–69=269) 8 strokes Denmark Thomas Bjørn, South Africa Ernie Els
2000 PGA Championship (2) 1 shot lead −18 (66–67–70–67=270) Playoff 1 United States Bob May
2001 Masters Tournament (2) 1 shot lead −16 (70–66–68–68=272) 2 strokes United States David Duval
2002 Masters Tournament (3) Tied for lead −12 (70–69–66–71=276) 3 strokes South Africa Retief Goosen
2002 U.S. Open (2) 4 shot lead −3 (67–68–70–72=277) 3 strokes United States Phil Mickelson
2005 Masters Tournament (4) 3 shot lead −12 (74–66–65–71=276) Playoff ² United States Chris DiMarco
2005 The Open Championship (2) 2 shot lead −14 (66–67–71–70=274) 5 strokes Scotland Colin Montgomerie
2006 The Open Championship (3) 1 shot lead −18 (67–65–71–67=270) 2 strokes United States Chris DiMarco
2006 PGA Championship (3) Tied for lead −18 (69–68–65–68=270) 5 strokes United States Shaun Micheel
2007 PGA Championship (4) 3 shot lead −8 (71–63–69–69=272) 2 strokes United States Woody Austin
2008 U.S. Open (3) 1 shot lead −1 (72–68–70–73=283) Playoff ³ United States Rocco Mediate
1 Defeated Bob May in three-hole playoff by 1 stroke: Woods (3–4–5=12), May (4–4–5=13)
² Defeated Chris DiMarco with birdie on first extra hole
³ Defeated Rocco Mediate with a par on 1st sudden death hole after 18-hole playoff was tied at even par
Tournament 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
The Masters T41 LA CUT 1 T8 T18
U.S. Open WD T82 T19 T18 T3
The Open Championship T68 T22 LA T24 3 T7
PGA Championship DNP DNP T29 T10 1
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
The Masters 5 1 1 T15 T22 1 T3 T2 2 T6
U.S. Open 1 T12 1 T20 T17 2 CUT T2 1 T6
The Open Championship 1 T25 T28 T4 T9 1 1 T12 DNP CUT
PGA Championship 1 T29 2 T39 T24 T4 1 1 DNP 2
The Masters T4
U.S. Open T4
The Open Championship T23
LA = Low Amateur
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.
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