Who Is Tiger Woods?
Tiger Woods is a world famous professional golfer (and a popular fantasy golf pick), whose sex scandal since November of 2009 has added a good deal of infamy to his personal biography.
Tiger Woods was born Eldrick Tont Woods oon December 30, 1975, to African-American Earl Woods and Kultida “Tida” Woods, of Thai, Chinese, and Dutch descent. From the time he was two years old, he was considered a golfing prodigy. When he was 3 years old, Tiger Woods appeared on The Mike Douglas Show, where he putted against legendary comedian, Bob Hope. He went on to appear in Golf Digest, as well as the hit tv show, That’s Incredible.
Tiger broke a score of 80 at the age of 8, and was already winning child tournaments by this time. He would win the Junior World Championships six different times. Tiger Woods became the youngest ever U.S. Junior Amateur Champion at the age of 15, and the first-ever repeat champion the next year (1992) at the age of 16. He attended college at Stanford University, where he was on their championship golf squad.
His first major professional tournament came when he was still at Stanford, at the 1995 Masters Tournament, where he finished an impressive 41st and was the only amateur to make the cut. In 1996, Woods won his third consecutive U.S. Amateur title, and won the NCAA Individual Golf Championship. After two years of college, Tiger Woods turned pro.
Pro Golf Career – “Hello World”
Tiger Woods was a sensation from the moment he announced his professional career in 1996. Before he entered a tournament, he signed a $40,000,000 endorsement deal with Nike and a $20,000,000 endorsement deal with Titleist, both records at the time. The hype surrounding Tiger Woods seemed to place impossible hopes on the kid golfer, as people were already talking about whether he was the greatest golfer ever. Amazingly, he not only matched, but surpassed, all expectations.
In April 1998, Tiger Woods won his first major (and first Masters Tournament), finishing an incredible 12 strokes ahead of the field, setting 20 Masters records and tying 6 other Masters records. In only 42 weeks of golf, he became the #1 ranked golfer in the world. This was an astonishing record, since the golf rankings take results from the past two years (or 102 weeks). This was just the beginning, as he went on to win 14 major tournaments, and has hopes of matching or surpassing Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major wins. Below are the winning Major Tournament results for Tiger Woods’ career.
- 1997 Masters Tournament
- 1999 PGA Championship
- 2000 U.S. Open
- 2000 Open Championship (British Open)
- 2000 PGA Championship
- 2001 Masters Tournament
- 2002 Masters Tournament
- 2002 U.S. Open
- 2005 Masters Tournament
- 2005 Open Championship (British Open)
- 2006 Open Championship (British Open)
- 2006 PGA Championship
- 2007 PGA Championship
- 2008 U.S. Open
This gives Tiger Woods 4 Masters championship, 3 British Open titles, 3 U.S. Open wins, and PGA Championships, showing his ability to win playing the “links” game of the Open Championship, in the extreme conditions of the U.S. Open tournaments, and on the venerable Augusta National golf course. While he has slowed down in his title wins as he entered his thirties, few would have bet against him breaking Nicklaus’s major tournament record when he reached 14 at the 2008 U.S. Open Championship. In retrospect, this event may have marked a turning point in Tiger Woods’ career – and life.
Tiger Woods won the 2008 U.S. Open in dramatic fashion, hobbling around the course, often appearing to strike the ball off of one leg. The next day, he announced he would undergo knee surgery which would end his 2008 season. Tiger Woods has yet to win another major tournament in over two more years of golf. Much of that time, golf was a secondary part of Tiger Woods’ life.
Tiger Woods Scandal
Late on Thanksgiving night in 2009, police answered a call to Tiger Woods’ neighborhood, where Woods had ran his car into a neighbor’s tree. Woods appeared to have facial lacerations, while the back window of his SUV was busted out. Furthermore, Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren, was reported carrying a golf club, which she supposedly used to try to bust out the back window of the vehicle, hoping to free Woods from the car. This odd set of events led to rampant speculation that Elin Woods had chased her husband out of the house with a golf club, and possible struck him and/or his car with the club.
This was denied by the Woods camp, but stories began to appear of Tiger Woods’ infidelity, and the stories piled up day after day throughout December 2009. The National Enquirer and (especially) TMZ made a killing on the Tiger Woods scandal. Eventually, a list of alleged lovers grew beyond a dozen, and he was forced to announce he would take a break from his golfing career to encounter sex addiction rehab and spend more time with his family. Tiger and Elin were unable to work out their differences, and the two agreed to divorce, with Elin Nordegren receiving upwards of $100,000,000 in the divorce settlement. The divorced pair share custody of their two children.
Tiger Woods and Public Opinions
Everyone seemed to have an opinion about the Tiger Woods scandal. Gloria Allred got attention for her comments. The African-American community was apparently offended by Woods’ choice of “white lovers”. Polls consistently showed that the American public now listed him on their Top 5 most hated list of sports athletes. Several corporations canceled their endorsement deals, who had become a billionaire more from endorsement contracts than his on-field golf prize money (which was substantial, in its own right).
Virtually overnight, Tiger Woods went from one of America’s most loved celebrities to a man who had to hold a press conference to “apologize” to Americans offended by his conduct – though this was mainly public relations management to keep his remaining corporate endorsement contracts.
Return to Golf
Tiger Woods hasn’t won a major tournament since his return to pro golf in 2010. He did tie for 4th in the 2010 Masters and 4th in the 2010 U.S. Open, which just about any other golfer (besides maybe Phil Mickelson) would consider great results. The criticism was an indication of how dominant he had been in a sport that is among the hardest to dominate (because you have to beat 120 opponents at a time, instead of just 1, any given day). Tiger Woods seemed to digress as the golf season progressed, though, as Woods finished 23rd in the 2010 British Open and 28th in the 2010 PGA Championship. After the season was finished, he announced he would rebuild his swing for the third time in his career, which is a sign that his golf game has serious holes in it. He will be 35 when the next golf season begins, so it’s left to be determined whether he has the five more major wins in him to surpass Jack Nicklaus.
Whatever the case, Tiger Woods is among the best golf players ever to have lived. Certainly he is the most successful golf pro in a financial sense. But whether he ever becomes a beloved figure with the general public is in serious doubt. When you hear the name “Tiger Woods”, the first thing most people think about is “sex scandal”.