Friday, March 5

Tiger Woods’ Ups and Downs Through the Years


A living legend. Tiger Woods has been called one of the greatest golfers to ever play the game — but his journey in the spotlight has been a roller-coaster ride full of highs and lows.

The California native was a child prodigy, making his first-ever TV appearance at the age of 2 on The Mike Douglas Show in 1978 to show off his golfing skills. He turned pro in 1996 after competing on the collegiate level at Stanford University.

“I’ve always figured that why go to a tournament if you’re not going there to try and win. There’s really no point in even going,” he said in a 1996 interview with Curtis Strange while making his professional debut at Greater Milwaukee Open. “That’s the attitude I’ve had my entire life, and that’s the attitude I will always have. As I’ve explained to my dad, second sucks. Third is even worse. I want to win. That’s my nature.”

The golfer went on to score multiple wins over the years at the events such as the PGA Tour. At 24, he became the youngest to win a career Grand Slam at the British Open in 2000. He was also honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019.

Woods has suffered many injuries throughout his athletic career, with the earliest occurring in 1994 when he underwent his first knee surgery, followed by several procedures on his back.

As he was gearing up to turn 40 in 2015, the golfer discussed the possibility that he might not be able to return to playing golf following surgery for a pinched nerve.

“It’s not what I want to have happen and it’s not what I’m planning on having happen. But if it does, it does,” he told Time magazine. “I’ve reconciled myself to it. It’s more important for me to be with my kids. I don’t know how I could live with myself not being able to participate in my kids’ lives like that. That to me is special. Now I know what my dad felt like when we’d go out there and play nine holes in the dark.”

Woods shares daughter Sam and son Charlie with ex-wife Elin Nordegren. The pair split in 2009 after five years of marriage after reports of the athlete’s infidelity surfaced in the National Enquirer and Us Weekly.

One of his mistresses, Rachel Uchitel, spoke out about her involvement with Woods in a January 2021 HBO Max documentary titled Tiger. “I regret the mistakes that I made,” she said. “But people came at me like they wanted to blame me for the fact that a married man cheated on his wife.”

Woods was injured in a single-car collision in Rancho Palos Verdes, California in February 2021. “Mr. Woods was extricated from the wreck with the ‘jaws of life’ by Los Angeles County firefighters and paramedics, then transported to a local hospital by ambulance for his injuries. The traffic investigation is being conducted by investigations from LASD Station,” a statement from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department read.

His manager, Mark Steinberg, told Golf Digest that he suffered “multiple leg injuries” and would undergo surgery.

Scroll down to take a closer look at Woods’ ups and downs through the years.

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1978

Woods makes his first-ever TV appearance on The Mike Douglas Show at 2. At the time, he showed off his impressive golf talents.

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1992

At 16, Woods played in his first professional tournament at the Los Angeles Open.

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1994

He enrolled at Stanford University, where he would go on to win 10 collegiate events over a two-year period. He underwent his first knee surgery that same year to have two benign tumors and scar tissue removed.

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1995

Woods participated in his first PGA Tour event.

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1996

He played in the Greater Milwaukee Open as he made his professional debut that August, finishing in a tie for 60th place. Along with his father, Eldrick, he launched the TGR Foundation to help promote the sport among inner-city children. He was also selected by Sports Illustrated as that year’s Sportsman of the Year. Woods later received the honor again in 2000.

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1997

He was awarded the Male Athlete of the Year honor at that the ESPYs. That same year, he won four events during the PGA Tour. (He went on to score eight wins at the PGA Tour two years later.)

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2000

He became the youngest player to win the Grand Slam at 24 after playing in the British Open.

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2003

Woods got engaged to Elin Nordegren just two years after they were introduced.

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2004

Woods and Nordegren tied the knot at a resort in Barbados.

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2006

The former child prodigy won back-to-back titles at the British Open, making him the first to do so since Tom Watson in 1982 and 1983. His historic win came two months after he lost his father to prostate cancer.

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2007

The athlete welcomed his first child, daughter Sam, with Nordegren.

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2009

Nordegren gave birth to their son, Charlie, in February. In November that year, news of Woods’ alleged affair with Rachel Uchitel surfaced in the National Enquirer and he suffered injuries days later after crashing his car into a fire hydrant. Us then broke the news of the athlete’s second alleged affair with Jaimee Grubbs. He addressed the cheating rumors via his website, writing, “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.”

He issued another statement via his website where he acknowledged “the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children.” He then announced his “indefinite” break from golf.

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2010

He returned to golf post-scandal to play in the Masters Tournament that April, three months before his divorce to Nordegren.

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2011

He withdrew from The Players Championship and was later diagnosed with an MCL sprain in his left knee and in his left Achilles tendon. He returned to the links two months later to compete at the Bridgestone Invitational.

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2012

He scored his first PGA Tour victory following the cheating scandal.

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2013

Woods dropped to his knees in pain while competing during the PGA Tour. That same year, he began dating skier Lindsey Vonn.

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2015

Woods and Vonn called it quits after two years together.

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2017

He underwent a spinal fusion surgery in April, and one month later was arrested near his Florida home for driving under the influence. He pleaded guilty and was placed on a one-year probation and received a fine and community service. Woods announced in July that he completed an in-patient treatment for his issues with medication. In November, he confirmed his relationship with Erica Herman.

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2021

Woods was the subject of a two-part HBO Max documentary, titled Tiger, in January that explored many aspects of his life, including his infamous cheating scandal and his complicated relationship with his father. Shortly after the documentary’s release, Woods announced that he would be postponing his golf season after undergoing his fifth back surgery. In February, the golfer was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery on his legs after being involved in a serious single-vehicle accident in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

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