Eldrick (Tiger) Woods, now 30 years
of age, has had an unprecedented career since becoming a professional golfer in
the late summer of 1996. He has won 66 tournaments, 48 of those on the PGA
TOUR, including the 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005 Masters Tournaments, 1999 and 2000
PGA Championships, 2000 and 2002 U.S. Open Championships, and 2000 and 2005
British Open Championships. With his second Masters victory in 2001, Tiger
became the first ever to hold all four professional major championships at the
same time. He is the career victories leader among active players on the PGA
TOUR, and is the career money list leader.
Woods won 11 tournaments in 2000, nine on the PGA TOUR, one on the PGA European Tour and the PGA Grand Slam. In addition, Woods and David Duval won the World Cup team title for the United States. He earned $9,188,321 on the PGA TOUR ($11,034,530 worldwide) and broke the PGA TOUR record of $6,616,585 which he set in 1999.
Tiger increased his record total on the PGA TOUR career money list to $55,770,760 through 2005, and had won $68,151,294 worldwide.
His nine PGA TOUR victories in 2000 equaled the fifth highest total ever and were the most since Sam Snead won 11 in 1950. He had eight PGA TOUR victories in 1999, and 11 victories worldwide while winning $7,681,625.
In 2000, Woods matched the record of Ben Hogan in 1953 in winning three professional major championships in the same year. Hogan won the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. Tiger also became the first since Denny Shute in 1936-37 to win the PGA Championship in consecutive years.
In winning the British Open, Woods became the youngest to complete the career Grand Slam of professional major championships and only the fifth ever to do so, following Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. Tiger also was the youngest Masters champion ever, at the age of 21 years, three months and 14 days, and was the first major championship winner of African or Asian heritage.
Woods holds or shares the record for the low score in relation to par in each of the four major championships. His records are 270 (18 under par) in the Masters, 272 (12 under par) in the U.S. Open, 269 (19 under par) in the British Open, and he shares the record of 270 (18 under par) with Bob May in the 2000 PGA Championship, which Tiger won by one stroke in a three-hole playoff.
The U.S. Open and Masters victories came by record margins, 15 strokes and 12 strokes respectively, and the U.S. Open triumph swept aside the 13-stroke major championship standard which had stood for 138 years, established by Old Tom Morris in the 1862 British Open. The record margin for the U.S. Open had been 11 strokes by Willie Smith in 1899. In the Masters, Woods broke the record margin of nine strokes set by Nicklaus in 1965. Tiger won the British Open by eight strokes, the largest margin since J. H. Taylor in 1913.
The best previous start on the PGA TOUR was by Horton Smith, who had eight PGA TOUR victories in 1929 at age 21 and 15 career victories in 1931 at age 23. By winning eight PGA TOUR titles and 11 overall in 1999, Woods had posted career totals of 15 PGA TOUR victories and 21 overall at age 23. The comparable figures for Nicklaus, through age 24 in 1964, were 12 PGA TOUR victories and 17 overall. Nicklaus had been a professional golfer for three years, one year less than Tiger.
Woods' six professional major championships and three U.S. Amateur titles bring his total to nine major championships through age 25, three more than Nicklaus at that age. Nicklaus had four professional major victories and two U.S. Amateur titles.
Woods compiled one of the most impressive amateur records in golf history, winning six USGA national championships, plus the NCAA title, before turning professional on August 27, 1996. He concluded his amateur career by winning an unprecedented third consecutive U.S. Amateur title, finishing with a record 18 consecutive match-play victories.
An achievement which ranks with any of his professional records, Woods won the U.S. Junior Amateur three times and was the first to win that title more than once. He was the youngest ever to win the U.S. Junior Amateur (age 15 in 1991) and the youngest ever to win the U.S. Amateur (age 18 in 1994). With his U.S. Open victory, Tiger became the first ever to hold that title along with the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur titles.
He is the son of Earl Woods, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, and his wife, Kultida, a native of Thailand. He was nicknamed Tiger after a Vietnamese soldier and friend of his father, Vuong Dang Phong, to whom his father had also given that nickname.
Born on December 30, 1975, Woods grew up in Cypress, California, 35 miles southeast of Los Angeles. He was not out of the crib before he took an interest in golf, at age 6 months, watching as his father hit golf balls into a net and imitating his swing. He appeared on the Mike Douglas Show at age 2, putting with Bob Hope. He shot 48 for nine holes at age 3 and was featured in Golf Digest at age 5. He won the Optimist International Junior tournament six times at ages 8, 9, 12, 13, 14 and 15.
Tiger played in his first professional tournament in 1992, at age 16, the Nissan Los Angeles Open and in three more PGA TOUR events in 1993. He made the 36-hole cut and tied for 34th place in the 1994 Johnnie Walker Asian Classic in Thailand, and had three additional PGA TOUR appearances. He entered Stanford University in 1994 and in two years he won 10 collegiate events, concluding with the NCAA title. His other amateur victories included the 1994 Western Amateur. He represented the United States in the 1994 World Amateur Team Championships in France and the 1995 Walker Cup Match in Wales.
He played his first major championships in 1995, making the 36-hole cuts in the Masters and the British Open, but had to withdraw from the U.S. Open because of an injured wrist. Tiger also made the cuts in the Motorola Western Open and Scottish Open. He played in three more major championships in 1996, making the cuts in two. After missing the cut in the Masters, he led the U.S. Open after 13 holes of the first round before finishing tied for 82nd place. Tiger posted a 281 total to tie the record for an amateur in the British Open, and his 66 in the second round equaled the lowest ever by an amateur. He tied for 22nd place.
Among the honors received as an amateur, Woods was Golf Digest Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992, Golf World Player of the Year in 1992 and 1993, Golfweek National Amateur of the Year in 1992, Golf World Man of the Year in 1994, and he was chosen for the Fred Haskins and Jack Nicklaus College Player of the Year awards in 1996.
The week after winning his third U.S. Amateur title, Woods played his first tournament as a professional in the Greater Milwaukee Open. It was one of only seven events left in 1996 for him to finish among the top 125 money winners and earn a player's card for the PGA TOUR.
The result was an achievement of which Tiger remains very proud. He won two tournaments and placed among the top 30 money winners qualifying for the Tour Championship. He finished 25th with $790,594 and won $940,420 for the year worldwide in 11 tournaments. He was the first rookie since 1990 to win twice and the first player since 1982 to have five consecutive top-five finishes.
Starting 1997 in spectacular fashion, Tiger won the season-opening Mercedes Championships with a birdie in a playoff over Tom Lehman with a six-iron shot that drew perfectly to the flag, landing two feet right of the hole and spinning back to within inches. Including the Masters, Woods won four PGA TOUR events in 1997, plus one overseas, and was the leading money winner (Arnold Palmer Award) with a then-record $2,066,833. He won $2,440,831 worldwide in 25 events.
He achieved No. 1 on the Official World Golf Ranking for the most rapid progression ever to that position. On June 15, 1997, in his 42nd week as a professional, Woods became the youngest-ever No. 1 golfer at age 21 years, 24 weeks. The previous youngest was Bernhard Langer, age 29 years, 31 weeks in 1986.
In 1998 Woods won one event on the PGA TOUR, and three times overall. He was fourth on the money list with $1,841,117 and earned $2,927,006 worldwide in 26 events. His most dramatic triumph was over Ernie Els in the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand. Tiger rallied with 65 in the final round after starting tied for 18th place, eight strokes behind Els, whom he beat with a birdie on the second playoff hole. He had been 11 strokes behind Els after two rounds.
In his third full season as a professional, 1999, Woods won eight times on the PGA TOUR, including the PGA Championship, and earned $6,616,585. He had a margin of $2,974,679 over runnerup David Duval, a figure greater than the previous single-year PGA TOUR record.
His dominance was such that Woods won 52 percent of all the prize money he could have won. He won 81.7 percent more than the runnerup, the highest margin since Byron Nelson in 1945 (87.2 percent) and Hogan in 1946 (85 percent). He was the first to have as many as eight PGA TOUR victories in one year since Johnny Miller won eight in 1974.
Tiger won four consecutive PGA TOUR events to end 1999 and started 2000 with two more victories for a total of six in succession. He had to come from behind for the fifth and sixth victories. He played the last three holes in four under par at the Mercedes Championships, then defeated Els in a playoff with a 40-foot birdie putt. He trailed Matt Gogel by seven strokes with seven holes left in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, then played the last four holes in four under par to win by two strokes.
Woods won five times on the PGA TOUR in 2001 and eight times worldwide. He won five times on the PGA TOUR again in 2002 and seven times worldwide, and was the PGA TOUR’s leading money winner for the fourth consecutive year with $6,912,625 ($8,417,188 worldwide).
Sports Illustrated selected Woods as the 1996 and 2000 Sportsman of the Year. He was the first to win that award more than once. L’Equipe (France) selected him as 2000 World Champion of Champions. The Associated Press chose Woods as the Male Athlete of the Year for 1997, 1999 and 2000. He and Michael Jordan are the only athletes to win that award three times. He was selected as Reuters 2000 Sportsman of the Year. He was chosen as ESPY Male Athlete of the Year in 1997 (tied with Ken Griffey, Jr.), 1999 and 2000. The founding members of the World Sports Academy, in voting for the Laureus Sports Awards, also selected Tiger as 1999 and 2000 World Sportsman of the Year.
Woods was selected as 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 Player of the Year by the PGA TOUR (Jack Nicklaus Award), the PGA of America, and the Golf Writers Association of America. His adjusted scoring average in 2000 of 67.79 strokes was the lowest ever – breaking his record of 68.43 in 1999 – and earned the Byron Nelson Award on the PGA TOUR and the Vardon Trophy from the PGA of America. He also had an actual scoring average in 2000 of 68.17 strokes, breaking Nelson’s record of 68.33 strokes in 1945.
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