Tiger Woods, USA

Tiger Woods is a name synonymous with golf greatness.  Since turning professional in 1996 the American has gone on to win over 100 career tournament titles as well as numerous major championships.  Making him a worldwide sports superstar and having comparisons to golfing greats like Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer swirl around him for most of his career. 

Born in December 1975 in Cypress, California, Woods is of African American and Thai descent.  His father, Earl Woods, is credited with nurturing his son’s love of the game from a very early age.  With the young Woods imitating his father’s golf swing from six months old!

When he was two years old, Woods appeared on the Mike Douglas Show, putting with golf enthusiast Bob Hope.  At three, he shot a 48 during nine holes and at five was featured in Golf Digest.  An impressive amateur career soon followed with Woods gaining national attention and playing for Stanford University in 1994.  Here, the incredible golfer won an astounding six USGA National Championships, as well as the NCAA title before turning professional in August 1996. 

Woods’ professional career took off quite quickly, with the talented golfer adapting to the hectic schedule and holding his own against players twice his age.  By June 1997, Woods reached the number one spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, in only his 42nd week as a pro.  At just 21 years and 24 weeks, he became the youngest-ever world number one.

With his win at the 2000 British Open, Woods became the youngest player to complete the career Grand Slam of professional major championships and only the fifth-ever to do so, following Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.  Between 2003 and 2006, Woods won an astounding 20 times on the PGA Tour.  He led the Tour’s money list twice and won an incredible four major championship titles.

During 2008 the Nike player won four out of six PGA Tour events, including his 14th major title at the year’s U.S. Open before sustaining a season-ending knee injury.  Woods returned to the PGA Tour the following year with fairly good success, securing six events and topping the money list but failing to win a major for the first time since 2004.

Woods took a leave of absence at the end of 2009 until April 2010 to focus on his personal life.  He returned to the PGA Tour for the 2010 Masters, finishing T4 at the year’s first major.  Following poor showings at many events and changing coaches Woods failed to win any titles during the season, the first time this had happened to the golfer in his entire professional career.  Injuries continued to plague the golfer throughout the next couple of seasons.  But he was still able to remain amongst the top players in the world.  

2013 proved to be a quality year for the American.  After winning numerous tournaments, the then 37-year-old was able to regain his number one ranking in the world.  For a while the Tiger of the past seemed to be well and truly back.  Unfortunately, Woods’ high performance level didn’t last long.  By 2014, the golfer was plagued with back injuries, forcing him to withdraw from events and ultimately take a leave of absence from the Tour to have surgery.

By 2015, the former number one was back competing but not to the standards many have come to expect from the golfing legend.  Missing the cuts at both the U.S. Open and the Open Championship that year.  In September of that year Woods underwent another back surgery and subsequently missed over a year of competitive play.  He would return in December 2016 to play at his foundation’s Hero World Challenge.  In August 2016 Woods’ long-time sponsor Nike stated it was pulling out of the golf equipment business.  Leaving the former number one without an equipment deal.  After trying out numerous options Woods announced he would be signing with TaylorMade in January 2017.  Using the new TaylorMade M2 Driver and Fairway Woods at his first appearance of the year at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Whether or not Woods will ever again be able to compete with the latest line of golfers coming up the ranks, including Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, is still up for debate.  But his past achievements and legendary results on the golf course have certainly cemented his place in golfing history.

PGA Tour Career Win Totals: 

1996 – 2 PGA Tour Wins
1997 – 4 PGA Tours Wins; 1 Major Title
1998 – 1 PGA Tour Win
1999 – 8 PGA Tour Wins; 1 Major Title
2000 – 9 PGA Tour Wins; 3 Major Titles
2001 – 5 PGA Tour Wins; 1 Major Title
2002 – 5 PGA Tour Wins; 2 Major Titles
2003 – 5 PGA Tour Wins
2004 – 1 PGA Tour Win
2005 – 6 PGA Tour Wins; 2 Major Titles
2006 – 8 PGA Tour Wins; 2 Major Titles
2007 – 7 PGA Tour Wins; 1 Major Title
2008 – 4 PGA Tour Wins; 1 Major Title
2009 – 6 PGA Tour Wins
2012 – 3 PGA Tour Wins
2013 – 5 PGA Tour Wins
2018 - Tour Championship

What's in the bag? - Tiger Woods

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