Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods (born December 30, 1975 is an American professional golfer who is among the most successful golfers of all time, and one of the most popular athletes of the 21st century. He has been one of the highest-paid athletes in the world for several years. Woods is considered by some as one of the greatest golfers of all time.
Following an outstanding junior, college, and amateur career, Woods was 20 years old when he turned professional at the end of summer in 1996. By the end of April 1997, he had 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 earned $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 won the 2000 U.S. Open by a record 15-shot margin. 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 marriage. He and his estranged wife Elin eventually divorced. His many alleged extramarital indiscretions were revealed by several women, through many worldwide media sources. This coincided with a series of injuries, treatments by Dr. Anthony Galea, who had been linked to HGH, a loss of golf form, and his ranking gradually fell to a low of No. 58 in November 2011. He ended a career-high winless streak of 107 weeks when he triumphed in the Chevron World Challenge in December 2011. 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, by which time he had been ranked number one for a total of 683 weeks, more than any other player in history.
Since 2014, Woods has been unable to recapture his dominant form, undergoing four back surgeries in 2014, 2015 and 2017. 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. After falling to #1199 in the World Golf Ranking in December 2017, Woods showed signs of making a comeback in 2018, and rose over 1000 places to be ranked #26 in August of that year.
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, 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 (82). 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.
Woods had back surgery on September 16, 2015. In late March 2016, he announced that he would miss the Masters while he recovered from the surgery; 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. Woods underwent back surgery in December 2016 and spent the next 15 months off the Tour. He 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.” 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. Woods returned to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. He shot rounds of 69-68-75-68 and finished tied for 9th place. His world ranking went from 1,199th to 668th, which was the biggest jump in the world rankings in his career.
On Sunday, March 11, 2018, he finished one-shot back and tied for second at the Valspar Championship in Florida, his first top-five finish on the PGA Tour since 2013. He then tied for sixth with a score of five under par at the 2018 Open Championship. At the last major of the year Woods finished second at the 2018 PGA Championship, two shots behind the winner Brooks Koepka. It was his best result in a major since 2009 (second at the 2009 PGA Championship) and moved up to 26th in the world rankings. His final round of 64 was his best ever final round in a major.
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. 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. 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.
Woods and Nordegren’s first child was a girl born in 2007, whom they named Sam Alexis Woods. Woods chose the name because his own father had always called him Sam. Their son, Charlie Axel Woods, was born in 2009.[