Who isn’t fascinated by the life of Tiger Woods. Overcoming the odds as the son of a military father and a minority to become the king of the golfing world. And then of course the dramatic almost overnight fall to lose his world ranking in golf, his health, his family not to mention his reputation. The world was shocked. Let’s look back at the career Tiger Woods that was recently rejuvenated by his 2018 win at the Tour Championship.
Eldrick Tont Woods, or more popularly known as Tiger Woods, is an American professional golfer who became the youngest man and the first African American to win the U.S. Masters in 1997. He is also one of the most popular athletes of the 21st century and one of the highest-paid athletes in the world for several years.
Tiger Woods was born in Cypress, California on the 30th of December, 1975. He’s the only child of an African-American Army officer father Earl Woods, and a Thai mother Kultida Woods. His first name, Eldrick, was coined by his mother because it began with an “E” (for Earl) and ended with “K” (for Kultida). When he was young, his father began calling him “Tiger” in honor of a fellow soldier and friend who had the same nickname.
Tiger Woods grew up in Orange County, California and learned to play golf at the age of two. He was taught by his father who served as his teacher and mentor. He became extremely proficient at the game by the age of eight and he even showed off his skills on television shows such as Good Morning America.
Amateur Golf Career
In 1984, when Tiger Woods was 8 years old, he won the 9-10 boys’ event which is the youngest age group available during the Junior World Golf Championships. That was also the time he first broke 80. From 1988 to 1991, he was able to win the Junior World Championships six times including four consecutive wins. According to his father, Tiger defeated him for the first time at the age of 11. And since that time, Earl lost to Tiger every time. At the age of 12, Tiger first broke on a regulation golf course.
When Tiger Woods was 15-years-old, he went to Western High School in Anaheim. That was also the time he became the youngest U.S. Junior Amateur champion, which was a record he held until 2010. In 1991, Tiger Woods was named Southern California’s Amateur Player of the Year for the second time and Golf Digest Junior Amateur Player of the Year. This is also when he started to perfect his golf swing.
Tiger Woods defended his title at the U.S Junior Amateur Championship in 1992 where he became the first two-time winner. Aside from that, he also competed in his first PGA Tour event which was the Nissan Los Angeles Open. He was named Golf Digest Amateur Player of the Year, Golf World Player of the Year, and Golfweek National Amateur of the Year. His success in amateur golf continued until he graduated from Western High School at the age of 18. He was in fact voted “Most Likely to Succeed” among the graduating class.
Professional Golf Career and Life
Tiger Woods studied college at Stanford University. There, he also won a number of amateur U.S. golf titles before he turned into a professional golfer in 1996. He became really famous after he won the U.S. Masters in 1997 at Augusta. He set a record of 270 at the age of 21, making him the youngest person to earn the title, and as well as the first African-American to accomplish this feat.
Later in 1997, he first appeared at the British Open where he tied the course record of 64. He even gained more successes after a few years which included 3 U.S. Open wins, 3 Open Championship wins, 4 U.S. PGA titles, and 3 U.S. Masters wins.
Among Tiger Woods’ five wins in 2003 were the Buick Invitational and the Western Open. The following year, he won one official PGA Tour championship. In October of 2004, Tiger Woods married his longtime girlfriend and Swedish model Elin Nordegren. In 2005, he returned to dominate the sport and won six championships. He was also voted the PGA Tour Player of the Year for the 7th time in 9 years.
In 2006, Tiger Woods experienced a great personal loss when his father died in May because of prostate cancer. But despite his grief, he still returned to golf and was able to win several events such as the PGA Championship and the British Open.
On June 18, 2007, his wife gave birth to their first child, Sam Alexis Woods. After having some time off for his daughter, he played again and won the World Golf Championship and the PGA Championship in August 2007. Tiger Woods’ winning ways continued the next month and he got the top spot at the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship. He was also named as the Player of the Year by the other participants in the PGA Tour and won his 8th Arnold Palmer Award for being the lead money earner.
On June 16, 2008, he won the U.S. Open in a 19-hole playoff even though he had a sporadic pain in his left knee because of an arthroscopic surgery done on April 15. He shot a par 4 on the first and only hole of sudden death while American Rocco Mediate, 45, settled for a bogey. That game was followed by an 18-hole playoff where Woods led Mediate by 3 shots after the first 10 holes. The victory he got from that game gave him his 3rd U.S. Open Championship and 14th major title which is just 4 behind the all-time record held by Jack Nicklaus.
Tiger Woods’ Injury
Two days after his last championship, Tiger Woods announced that he would miss the rest of the season because his left knee needed more reconstructive surgery. He said that aside from that, he had also suffered a double stress fracture in his left tibia two weeks before the U.S. Open tournament because he ignored the doctors’ advice to rest for six weeks for it to heal.
On September 2, 2008, Tiger Woods and his wife announce that they were expecting their second child in late winter. His injury was disappointing but it allowed him to spend time with his first born. On February 8, 2009, they welcomed baby boy Charlie Axel Woods.
After that, Tiger Woods returned to the green Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson, Arizona on February 25, 2009. He played against South African golfer Tim Clark, however, he lost 4 to 2 in his four tournament since his injury. He competed again in June of 2009 in the U.S. Open but he quickly fell out of contention for the win.
Tiger Woods’ comeback had not been as auspicious as he hoped but he still remained number one in the world of golf rankings. However, he finished the year without a single major win after losing the PGA title to Yang Yong-eun.
Tiger Woods’ career as a golfer was struggling and his personal life was in an even more serious tailspin. There were reports that surfaced in late November about Tiger Woods and a nightclub manager Rachel Uchitel but both of them denied a relationship even though there was a photographic evidence that seemed to indicate otherwise.
On November 27, Tiger Woods had collided into a fire hydrant outside his home and based on reports, his wife had broken the back window of his SUV with a golf club in order to get him out of the car. His injuries were not serious and he was quickly released. However, that accident aroused suspicions from fans and the media. Tiger Woods remained silent about the issue and he mysteriously dropped out of his charity golf tournament which was the Chevron World Challenge. After that, he announced that he would not be attending any tournaments in 2009.
Even though Woods remained silent, reports about his other mistresses grew. Tiger Woods then offered an apology to his fans and family on December 2, 2009. However, the mistress count rose and he was unable to suppress media inquiries into his life.
Tiger Woods apologized again to his fans on December 11, 2009 and he admitted infidelity. After that, he announced that he would be taking a hiatus from golf so he could tend to his family. After several days, Woods lost his endorsement deal with Accenture and he was suspended from his Gillette endorsement as well. But other brands and companies such as Tag Heuer, Nike, and EA Sports continued to stand by him.
In April 2010, Tiger Woods made a return to gold but he was not quite at the top of his game. He first played at the 2010 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia where he ended up in fourth place. He then withdrew from the Players Championship during the fourth round on May 9 because of a neck injury.
Weeks later, he made his return to golf at the Memorial Tournament, however, he delivered his worst performance there since 2002. And at the 2010 U.S. Open, he finished in a tie for fourth place.
It seemed like Tiger Woods’ personal life had taken a turn for the worse because there was news of a possible divorce settlement. Based on reports, Nordegren retained full physical custody of their 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son and Woods also agreed to not introduce his children to a new woman unless they will get married.
In 2012, after the challenges that Woods faced in his life, he got his gold game clicking again. He was able to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and that summer, he topped the field at the AT&T National, surpassing Nicklaus with career victory number 74.
In March 2013, Tiger Woods confirmed to the media that he was dating Lindsey Vonn who is a professional alpine ski racer from Minnesota. She was previously married to a former ski racer but they separated in 2011 and divorced in January 2012.
Woods was triumphant in the 2013 season as he won five tournaments including the Farmers Insurance Open, the Players Championship, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He was also named the PGA Tour Player of the Year for the 11th time.
However, as he was resuming to his games, his injuries flared up and derailed his performance. In March 2014, Tiger Woods underwent a back surgery. After a year, he appeared in two early tournaments and took another break to let his sore back heal.
In April, he returned to tee off at the Masters and finished a solid 5-under par and claimed a tie for 17th place. Then after a few weeks, he announced that he and Vonn were no longer together because of hectic schedules that kept them from spending time with each other.
Tiger Woods’ Arrest and Apology
Tiger Woods continued to experience ups and downs in his professional and personal life. In April 2017, he underwent another back surgery. After a month, police found him sleeping in his car at the side of the road near his Florida home while it was running and had its brake lights and blinkers on. The police arrested him for suspicion of driving under the influence but based on the breath alcohol test, there was no sign of alcohol in his system.
According to Tiger Woods, he had an unexpected reaction to his prescribed medications. He thanked the police and issued an apology. In June 2017, he checked into a clinic to receive professional help for him to manage his medication intake for pain and sleep disorder.
However, Tiger Woods pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge for the May incident in late October at a hearing. To avoid a conviction for driving under the influence, he agreed to enter a program for first-time offenders.
Return of Tiger Woods
On October 30, 2017, Tiger Woods announced that he would return to competitive golf for the start of his personal tournament at the end of November which is the Hero World Challenge.
In 2018, he found his game clicking into place again after trying for second place at the Valspar Championship. Tiger Woods got off to an excellent start with a 4-under 68 in the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational before he finished in a tie for fifth. This was followed by another strong showing in July at the British Open.And of course the thrilling win at the 2018 tour championship to cap his comeback and his first victory in 5 years.
Tiger has been through many challenges through out his career. Like all of us avid golfers, he continues to work on improving his golf swing and his game. It will be interesting to see whats in store next for Tiger.