For a long time, Tiger Woods was the main man in golf, and there was nobody on the tour who could stop him. The only way he was going to be beaten was if he beat himself, and eventually, that’s what happened to one of golf’s greatest ever. Woods went from hero to rock bottom, but everyone loves a good redemption story, and it looks like he’s back on form. This is the Tiger Woods story, and his long road back to major glory.
Living for golf
Tiger Woods has always had a deep love for golf, even as a very young child. When he was just two years old he appeared on CBS News, putting with Bob Hope. By the time Woods was 13, his handicap was already scratch.
At 14, Woods won his fifth Optimist International Junior World, and was the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at 14. His first taste of the PGA Tour came when he was 16, and by the age of 20, he was already in the top 50 players in the world.
Bursting onto the scene
By now, everyone in golf knew who Tiger Woods was, and he was already winning plenty of accolades. The year he turned pro he founded the Tiger Woods Foundation, was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, and earned just under $1 million.
1997 was the year when Woods really arrived though, and he won his very first major championship, The Masters. He won several other tournaments as he turned 21 years old and was named the Male Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press.
Woods won the most money ever in one single season with $2.06 million and broke records on his way to Masters glory. Not only was his 12-shot winning margin the greatest ever at The Masters, but his score of 270 for 72 holes was also a new tournament low score.
Cementing his legacy
After winning his first major, Woods made golf look easy and he plowed through the competition over the next ten years. By the time 2008 rolled by, Woods amassed 14 major championships and was well on course for beating the all-time record.
Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors was in real danger, but no-one could foresee what happened next. On his rise to the top of golf, Woods found love, and in 2004 he married his girlfriend, Elin Nordegren. By 2007 she gave birth to their first child.
Woods was physically different from the other golfers on tour because he was much stronger and fitter than the majority. He could match linebackers for what he could bench press in the gym, but eventually, his body began to fail him. Woods struggled with injuries, both to his knees and his back. The injuries perhaps foreshadowed things to come for Woods as it was soon documented he was having personal issues outside of golf.
Woods had torn his ACL and also had two fractures in his tibia. In June 2008, Woods was ruled out from playing for eight months, but there was some good news around the corner, and his son, Charlie was born in 2009. Woods made a comeback to golf, and although he was leading in the U.S Open, he had a spectacular collapse by blowing a two-shot lead in the final round.
In November 2009, Woods wrapped his car around a tree outside his home in Florida and rumors of extramarital activities begin to surface. Woods lost some of his significant sports endorsements following the outbreak of reports, and he checked himself into rehab. Less than a year after Woods crashed his car and was accused of having an affair, his divorce from Elin Nordegren was settled.
Woods spends another couple of years in the golfing wilderness before making a comeback in 2012.
Playing like an amateur
Tiger Woods remained on tour for a couple of years but suffered another setback in 2014 as he seriously injured his back. He was chasing his former glories, but the harder Woods tried, the more difficult golf seemed to become for him. Woods missed the cut at the 2014 PGA Championship and said he was taking time off to get healthy, but he rushed back and looked amateur at the 2015 Phoenix Open.
In June 2015 he scored his highest ever round as a pro, shooting 85, then in August that year, he missed his third straight cut at the majors. Woods has a procession of back surgeries and says he doesn’t know where the light at the end of the tunnel is for his golf game. In 2017 Woods was once again arrested, this time under a suspected DUI, though these charges were later dropped.
Making a commitment
The only way Woods was going to get back to his best was if he dedicated some real time off to let his body recover. In 2018 it seemed as though Tiger was finally back. He was leading in the British Open, but ultimately finished sixth and then finished runner-up at the PGA Championship.
Woods had taken time off to get better, and things were falling into place. In April 2019 the comeback was complete, and Woods won his 15th major after securing his fifth Masters victory. His redemption story was complete, and Woods now might end his career with the most major victories of all time if he continues on his current path.