Tiger Woods

History | Early Years | PGA Tour | Honors and Awards

          Eldrick Tont Woods, better known as Tiger Woods, is one of the most successful golfers of all time. He started playing golf at a young age, where he learned the game of golf from his father Earl Woods. At 15 years of age Tiger became the youngest U.S. Junior Amateur Champion ever. He would end up winning three U.S. junior Amateurs in a row. In 1994 Woods became the youngest winner of the U.S Amatuer. He would also win three U.S Amateurs in a row. Also, while enrolled at Stanford, Tiger was voted Pac-10 Player of the Year, NCAA First Team All American, and Stanford's Male Athlete of the Year. In 1996 Tiger became the only golfer to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur Titles. In that year Tiger also won the NCAA individual golf championship. Tiger joined the PGA Tour in August 1996. He immediately signed endorsement deals with Nike and Titliest worth $60 million combined. Tiger has won 14 Major Championships and 65 tour events on the PGA Tour. He is first in both categories among active golfers. Tiger had surgery on his left knee after winning the 2008 U.S. Open Championship. On February 25, 2009, Woods returned to the green in the Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson, Arizona. Although Woods' comeback had not been as auspicious as he'd hoped, he remained No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings, and continued to be the leader in top 10 finishes overall. But after losing the PGA title to Yang Yong-eun, Woods finished the year without a single major win—the first time he had done so since 2004.
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Recent Personal Developments

      While his life on the green seemed lackluster, his personal life was in an even more serious tailspin. In late November, reports surfaced about a tryst between Woods and nightclub manager Rachel Uchitel. Both parties denied a relationship, despite photographic evidence that seemed to indicate otherwise.

      On November 27, as the story gained traction, media outlets announced that Woods had collided into a fire hydrant outside his home at 2:30 in the morning. Reports said that Woods' wife had broken the back window of the golfer's SUV with a golf club in order to get him out of the locked car. The golfer's injuries were not serious, and he was quickly released.

      The accident aroused suspicions with fans and the media, who instantly pushed for a statement from Woods. But the golfer remained silent on the matter, and mysteriously dropped out of his charity golf tournament, the Chevron World Challenge. He then announced that he would not be attending any other tournaments in 2009.

      As the silence grew, so did reports of other Woods mistresses. On December 2, 2009, Woods offered an apology to his fans and family, expressing regret for unnamed "transgressions." But as the mistress count rose to more than a dozen women, with phone evidence to back many claims, Woods was unable to suppress media inquiries into his life. Woods was said to have offered his wife a renegotiation of their prenuptial agreement in order to compel her to stick by him, but reports soon surfaced that Nordgren had purchased a home in Sweden with her sister. Photographers then spotted the former model without her wedding ring.

      On December 11, 2009, Woods apologized again to fans—this time, admitting to infidelity. He then announced that he would be taking a hiatus from golf in order to tend to his family. Several days later, he lost his endorsement deal with management company, Accenture, and was suspended from his Gilette endorsement. Other companies, including Nike, Tag Heuer and EA Sports, continue to stand by Woods.

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Early Years

      Tiger Woods was born in Cypress, California to Earl and Kultida Woods on December 30, 1975. He has two half brothers, Earl Jr. and Kevin, and one half sister, Royce. Tiger's given name at birth was Eldrick Tont Woods. He got the nickname "Tiger" from Vuong Dang Phong, a Vietnamese soldier friend of Tiger's father. Woods began playing the game of golf at the age of 2. He appeared on the Mike Douglas Show and putted against comedian Bob Hope. Tiger shot a 48 over 9 holes when he was just three years old, a truly astonishing feat. He appeared in Golf Digest and ABC's That's Incredible at the age of five. At the age of eight Tiger won the 9-10 age group at the Junior World Golf Championship. He went on to win this event 6 times, including four years in a row from 1988-1991. Tiger won three consecutive U.S. Junior Amatuer Championships and to this day is still the youngest winner. In 1991 Tiger was voted Southern California Amateur Player of the Year for the second year in a row as well as Golf Digests Junior Amateur Player of the Year.

      Tiger became the youngest ever to win the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1994. That record stood for 14 years, but was recently broken by Danny Lee. Tiger was a member of the American team at the 1994 Eisenhower Trophy World Amateur Golf Team Championships and the 1995 Walker Cup. He went to college at Stanford University, where he majored in Economics. As a freshman he was voted Pac-10 Player of the Year, NCAA First Team All American, and Stanford's Male Freshman of the Year. He also participated in the Masters his freshman year in college where he finished 41st and was the only amateur to make the cut. A year later he became the only golfer to win the U.S. Amateur three times. He also won the NCAA Individual Golf Championship. After two years at Stanford Tiger left school to join the PGA Tour.

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PGA Tour
      Tiger became a professional golfer in August 1996 and immediately signed endorsement deals with Nike and Titliest worth a combined $60 million. His first event was at the Greater Milwaukee Open, where he finished tied for 60th. Tiger would win two tournaments in the following three months to qualify for the Tour Championship. He was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year as well as Sports Illustrated's 1996 Sportsman of the Year. In Woods' second season he astonished the golf world by winning the Masters in April by a record margin of 12 strokes. He became the youngest winner of the Masters as well as the first African-American or Asian-American winner. He won three more tournaments in his second season and in only his 42nd week as a pro, Tiger ascended to number 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings. He was named PGA Tour Player of the Year just one year after being named PGA Tour Rookie of the year. Tiger seemed to be in a slump for the 1997 and 1998 seasons as he did not meet the high expectations set for him. He admitted that he was working on swing changes to better prepare himself for the future.

      It seemed that the swing changes Tiger was talking about were about to come full circle. He enjoyed his greatest success on the PGA Tour from 1999-2002. He won the last four tournaments he entered in 1999, including the PGA Championship.. He finished that season with 8 wins, something that had not happened on the PGA Tour in 25 years. He was again named PGA Tour Player of the Year. Woods began 2000 with his fifth consecutive victory. At the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Tiger earned his sixth consecutive victory in dramatic fashion. He was trailing by seven with seven holes to play. He finished with a 64 for his final round, securing a two shot victory. Tiger won the 2000 U.S. Open by a record 15 strokes. He led by 10 strokes going into the last round and that tournament was named "the greatest performance in golf history" by Sports Illustrated. In the Open Championship at St. Andrews, Tiger set the record for lowest score to par in any major tournament. With that win at the Open Championship Tiger became the youngest golfer ever to win all four major tournaments. At the PGA Championship that year, Tiger beat Bob May in a playoff to capture his 3rd major trophy of the year. Tiger and Ben Hogan remain the only two golfers to win at least three majors in a single year. Tiger entered 20 tournaments in 2000, and of those 20 events, he finished in the top three 14 times. He continued his dominance into the 2001 season. His win at the Masters in April signified the only time in modern golf that any player has held all four major trophies at once. It was not a true Grand Slam, since it was not completed in the same calendar year, it became known as the Tiger Slam. Tiger did not win any major trophies the rest of 2001, but finished with the most wins on tour that year. In 2002 Tiger joined Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo as the only golfers to win the Masters two years in a row. He won the U.S. Open tournament two months later and everyone thought this could be the year Tiger completed the Grand Slam. However Tiger did not win the Open Championship or the PGA Championship in 2002. For the fourth consecutive year he was named Player of the Year. In the 2003-2004 seasons Tiger competed, but did not show the dominance he had in years past. Tiger once again let everyone know that he was working on swing changes to put less stress on his surgically repaired left knee. 

      Tiger quickly returned to his winning ways in 2005. He won the Buick Invitational in January and the Ford Championship at Doral in March. He regained his spot at number 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings when he won his fourth Masters in April. Vijay Singh and Tiger would swap spots at the top of the rankings, but Tiger reclaimed the top spot for good in July. By winning the 2005 Open Championship, his 10th career major,  Tiger cemented his hold on the number 1 spot. Tiger would win 6 events in the 2005 season, and top the money list for the 6th time in hs career. In 2006 Tiger started off strong by winning the first two events he entered. In April he was gunning for his fifth Masters win, but came up short to Phil Mickelson. A month later on May 3 Tiger's father Earl died after a long battle with prostate cancer. Woods took nine weeks off to spend time with his family. After the hiatus Tiger returned for the 2006 U.S Open where for the first time in his career missed the cut of a major. Just three weeks later Tiger shook off the rust as he finished tied for second at the Western Open. Woods put on a display at the 2006 Open Championship and his score of -18 was just one off the major championship record he set in 2000 at St. Andrews. With this win being the first major win after the passing of his father, Tiger was very emotional and stood on the green embracing caddie Steve Williams after making the putt to win the tournament. Only four weeks later at the 2006 PGA Championship, Tiger once again dominated the field as he won his 3rd PGA Championship. He won his 50th professional tournament at the Buick Open where he became the youngest ever to reach 50 professional wins. He ended 2006 by winning 6 consecutive tournaments. To begin the 2007 season Tiger won the Buick Invitational for the third straight year. This also marked his 7th consecutive victory overall. In the 2007 masters, Tiger was in the final group but could not make a charge and was defeated by Zach Johnson. He tied for second at the 2007 U.S. Open where he trailed by two going into the final round. In the 2007 Open Championship Tiger was going for his third straight victory at this event. It was not meant to be as Tiger finished five strokes back and in 12th place. However Tiger did win his second consecutive PGA Championship, where he defeated Woody Austin by 2 strokes. Wooods finished the 2007 season with a victory at the Tour Championship and winner of the inaugural FedEx Cup.

      Woods started off strong in 2008 with an 8 stroke victory at the Buick Invitational. With this win he tied Arnold Palmer with 62 career victories. Tiger would again finish second at the Masters, this time to Trevor Immelman. He underwent his third arthroscopic knee surgery on April 15, and missed two months on the PGA Tour to rehab. Tiger would return to the PGA Tour for the 2008 U.S. Open. Throughout the week, Tiger could be seen grimacing in pain after many shots. It was very evident that his knee was not yet 100%. On the final hole Sunday Tiger needed to make a 12 foot birdie putt to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate. In very dramatic fashion the putt caught the right lip and fell into the hole to force the playoff. The next day Tiger faced Mediate in an 18 hole playoff. After 18 holes the two were still tied which would force sudden death. Tiger would par the first hole of sudden death as Mediate eyed his par putt. Mediate missed his par putt, giving Tiger an incredible win. Two days after winning the U.S. Open Tiger announced that he would need to undergo reconstructive ACL surgery on his left knee. He would also miss the rest of the 2008 season. Woods called the U.S. Open victory "my greatest ever championship- the best of the 14 because of all the things that have gone on over the past week." On February 25, 2009, Woods returned to the green in the Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson, Arizona. Woods played against South African golfer Tim Clark, losing 4 to 2 in his first tournament since his injury. In June of 2009, Woods competed again in the U.S. Open. After putting a four-over-par in the first round, Woods quickly fell out of contention for the win. Although Woods' comeback had not been as auspicious as he'd hoped, he remained No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings, and continued to be the leader in top 10 finishes overall. But after losing the PGA title to Yang Yong-eun, Woods finished the year without a single major win—the first time he had done so since 2004.  

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Honors and Awards 
  • Three time U.S. Junior Amateur Champion
  • Three time U.S. Amateur Champion
  • Golf Digest Amateur of the Year
  • Pac-10 Player of the Year
  • Stanford's Freshamn of the Year
  • NCAA First Team All American
  • Won NCAA Individual Golf Championship
  • PGA Tour Rookie of the Year
  • Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year
  • PGA Player of the Year 9 times
  • Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year 4 times
  • PGA Tour Money Leader 8 times
  • Byron Nelson Award 8 times
  • Vardon Trophy 7 times
  • Golf Writers Association of America Player of the Year 9 times
  • Mark H. McCormack Award 11 times
  • 14 Major Championship wins
  • 65 Career PGA Tour wins
  • Led PGA Tour in scoring average 8 times
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