About Eldrick Tont Woods
American golfer Tiger Woods is the youngest man ever, and the first man of color, to win the Masters Tournament of golf.
Born Eldrick Tont Woods in Cypress, California. He is the only child of Earl and Kultida Woods. The only child of Earl Woods, a retired US Army lieutenant colonel who fought in Vietnam, and his wife Kutilda, a native of Thailand. He was nicknamed Tiger after his father’s friend, Vuong Dang Phong, a Vietnamese soldier whom Earl had also called Tiger.
His parents identified their son's talent at an unusually early age. They said that he was playing with a putter before he could walk. The boy was gifted not only with exceptional playing abilities, but he also possessed a passion for the sport. Woods first gained national attention on a talk show when he beat the famed comedian and avid golfer Bob Hope (1903–) in a putting contest. The young boy was only three at the time, and he was quickly hailed as a prodigy, or a child with remarkable talent. Not long after that, when he was five years old, Woods was featured on the popular television show That's Incredible!
He was eight when he won the 1884 Junior World Golf Championships, having to enter the 9-10 boys’ event as it was the youngest group available. He went on to win the Optimist International Junior tournament six times, at ages 8, 9, 12, 13, 14 and 15. To this day, he is the event’s youngest ever player and the only multiple winner.
Suffering with a bad stutter as a boy, his intense desire to win helped him overcome it, largely by talking to the eternally patient family dog but also trying extra hard at school. He attended Western High School in Anaheim, California. At age 16, Woods entered his first professional tournament, the 1992 Nissan Los Angeles Open and in 1993, he played in three PGA Tour events. In 1994 he tied for 34th place in the Johnnie Walker Asian Classic in Thailand and participated in three more PGA Tour events before starting at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Also in 1994, he won the Western Amateur and represented the US in the World Amateur Golf Team Championships in France, becoming the youngest person ever to win the event. He won the 1995 Walker Cup Match in Wales.
As an amateur golfer, Woods achieved an impressive amount, winning six USGA national championships as well as the NCAA title. He was the 1991 and 1992 Golf Digest Player of the Year, 1994 Golfweek National Amateur of the Year and chosen for the Fred Haskins and Jack Nicklaus College Player of the Year awards in 1996. The final flourish in his amateur career was to win his third consecutive US Amateur title, ending with a record 18 consecutive match-play victories. No one before Woods had won the US Junior Amateur more than once and he was the youngest ever to win it, at age 15 in 1991. He was also the youngest player ever to win the US Amateur title, at age 18 in 1994. With all his golfing talent, Woods decided to leave college after being there two years, in order to enter the sport professionally.
On 27 August 1996, he became a professional golfer at the age of 20, under the guidance of coach Butch Harmon, and was soon to prove to the world that he was somewhat of a golfing prodigy. In order for Woods to earn a player’s card for the PGA Tour, there were only seven events left in 1996 in which he could prove himself. His first tournament as a professional golfer was the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open in which he tied for 60th place, winning $2,544, his first cheque as a professional player. Woods remains justifiably proud of winning two of the remaining 1996 tournaments, as well as being placed in the top 30 money winners qualifying for the Tour Championship and finishing overall in 25th place. He had more than earned his professional player’s card.
Woods was selected as Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1996, an honour that he would again enjoy in 2000, making him the first person to win it more than once. He was also named 1996 PGA Rookie of the Year. On 15 June 1997, at age 21 years, 24 weeks, he won the season-opening Mercedes Championships with a birdie in a playoff with Tom Lehman, making him the youngest ever number one golfer, taking the title from Bernhard Langer who was youngest in 1986 at age 29 years, 31 weeks. Winning The Masters by a record margin of twelve strokes, he then became the youngest Masters winner at age 21 years, three months and 14 days. To this day, it is the winning of The Masters that is his proudest moment. He also became the first major championship winner of African or Asian heritage. Woods went on to win four PGA Tour events in 1997, as well as one overseas. He gained the 1997 Arnold Palmer Award when he became the leading money winner, with a then-record £2,066,833 and a worldwide earning of £2,440,831 over 25 events. In 1997, Woods achieved the most rapid progression ever to number one position on the Official World Golf Rankings and he later remained in Rankings top position for a record 264 consecutive weeks, from 15 August 1999 to 29 August 2004.
The Associated Press named Woods Male Athlete of the Year in 1997 and again in 1999 and 2000, making him the only athlete besides Michael Jordan to win the award three times. He was 1997 ESPY Male Athlete of the Year, in a tie with Ken Griffey Jr., and again in 1999 and 2000. He was selected Player of the Year in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 by the PGA Tour, winning the Jack Nicklaus Award, the PGA of America and the Golf Writers Association of America.
Woods beat South African Ernie Els in the 1998 Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand in a dramatic playoff. He had been eleven strokes behind Els after two rounds and clinched his victory with a birdie on the second playoff hole. 1999 was his third full season as a professional, and Woods was showing everyone just how talented he was. He had eight wins on the PGA Tour, including the PGA Championship and earned £6,616,585 which was a full £2,974,679 more than second place David Duval. In fact, he won 52 percent of the possible prize money, which was nearly 82 percent more than the runner-up. Woods achieved another record by being the first player since Johnny Miller in 1974 to have eight PGA Tour victories in one year. Ending 1999 with a flourish, he won four consecutive PGA Tour events and then had two more, making a total of six successive wins.
In 1999 and 2000, he was named World Sportsman of the Year, as voted by the founding members of the World Sports Academy for the Laureus Sports Awards. In 2000, he was chosen as the World Champion of Champions by L’Equipe in France and Reuters selected him as Sportsman of the Year. Whilst the accolades were rolling in, Woods continued to concentrate on improving his game and it showed. His adjusted scoring average for 2000 was 67.79 strokes, which was the lowest ever achieved and which broke his own record of 68.43 in 1999. For this performance, Woods won the Bryon Nelson Award on the PGA Tour as well as the Vardon Trophy from the PGA of America. His actual scoring average in 2000 was 68.17 strokes, which broke Nelson’s 1945 record of 68.33 strokes.
Winning his first British Open Championships in 2000, he became the youngest to complete the career Grand Slam of professional major championships and the fifth ever to do so. The previous four golfers were Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. With his second Masters victory in 2001, Woods became the first ever to hold all four professional major championships at the same time, a feat dubbed the “Tiger Slam”. He went on to win The Masters Tournaments in 2001, 2002 and 2005. He won the 1999, 2000 and 2006 PGA Championships and the 2000 and 2002 US Open Championships. He became the first since Denny Shute in 1936-7 to win the PGA championship in consecutive years. Woods also won the 2005 and 2006 British Open Championships.
In 2000, he won no less than eleven tournaments (nine on PGA Tour, one on PGA European Tour and the PGA Grand Slam) as well as winning the World Cup team title for the United States, with David Duval. His nine PGA Tour victories were the fifth highest total ever and were the most since Sam Snead’s eleven wins in 1950. In 2001, he had five wins on the PGA Tour and eight wins worldwide. In 2002, five wins on the PGA Tour and seven wins worldwide, making him the PGA Tour’s leading money winner for the fourth consecutive year with £6,912,625 and £8,417,188 worldwide. He holds the record for the lowest 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 US Open, 269 (19 under par) in the British Open, and 270 (18 under par) in the 2000 PGA Championship, a record he shares with Bob May.
With everything going brilliantly in his career, the 28-year-old golf superstar’s personal life was also taking an upturn. In November 2003, Woods and his Swedish model girlfriend, Elin Nordegren, were engaged. They were married on 5 October 2004 and took a honeymoon cruise on their boat to Puerto Rico. The couple live in Orlando, Florida but also have homes in Wyoming, Jackson, California and Sweden. In March 2004, Woods began being coached by Hank Haney and that year, was named the highest earning US sportsman, with a total of $89.4 million in winnings and endorsements.
Since his 21st birthday, Woods has signed several endorsement deals, including American Express, General Motors, General Mills, Accenture and Nike. His five-year, £100 million contract with Nike was, at the time, the largest endorsement deal ever signed by an athlete. He also endorses the ‘Tiger Woods PGA Tour’ video game series and collaborated with Tag Heuer in developing the world’s first professional golf watch, released in April 2005.
In early January 2006, in celebration of his 30th birthday (30 December 2005), Woods bought a luxury estate on Jupiter Island, Florida. Once again breaking records, the $40 million he paid was the highest sale price for property in what has been dubbed the ‘Most Expensive ZIP Code’. He and Elin plan to make it their primary residence once renovations to the house are complete.
Sadly, the high that Woods was experiencing would soon all come crashing down. He was devastated when Earl Woods, his 74-year-old father, died on 3 May 2006 after his long battle against prostate cancer. Woods had lost one of his most important mentors and a father he had always dearly loved. He took nine weeks out from golfing in order to be with his family. When he returned for the 2006 US Open, it was evident that his heart wasn’t entirely in his game and for the first time in his professional career, he failed to qualify for the weekend at a major. With his steely core of determination and perhaps remembering his father’s words to him as a young man, “I promise you one thing: you’ll never meet another person as tough as you”, Woods bounced back with an improved game. He won the British Open with 18 under par and was quite emotional when he dedicated his victory to the memory of his father. A few weeks later, he won the PGA Championship with another 18 below par and with only three bogeys, he tied for fewest bogeys in a major.
Feeling strongly about the parental support he had enjoyed, Woods wanted to share that with the community. In February 2006, he opened the first ‘Tiger Woods Learning Center’ in Anaheim, California, not far from where he grew up. He put in over $5 million for the foundation that aims to provide children aged 10 to 18 with mentoring and guidance. After consultation with the children of the community to find out what they wanted to see on the curriculum, the foundation offers courses such as computers, creative writing and rocketry. Also planned are summer programs, weekend and community outreach programs. The extensive multi-media facilities will allow the opportunity for online learning and the centre has an outdoor area for teaching golf. Claiming this project was closer to his heart than golf, Woods plans to open more centers of this kind around the world.
Woods arranges an annual fund raising concert called ‘Tiger Jam’ and donates his winnings from the annual off-season charity golf tournament, the Target World Challenge, to his foundation. His Tiger Woods Foundation National Junior Golf Team has eighteen members and competes in the annual Junior World Golf Championships.
The Tavistock Group, which includes Woods and Ernie Els, recently bought an estate in New Providence in the Bahamas, with plans to develop an exclusive residential community there. Prior to the modernization of the secluded Albany House, it was used as the location for the filming of several scenes in the latest Bond movie. ‘Casino Royale’ was the first Ian Fleming James Bond novel and the film is scheduled for release on 17 November 2006 with Daniel Craig as Bond.
Believing it necessary to support children, especially those disadvantaged in any way, Woods has been involved in youth projects and charities since he and father, Earl, established The Tiger Woods Foundation in 1996. The projects include golf clinics that culminate in a community festival, a grant program, university scholarships and the ‘Start Something’ character development program, which by 2003 had more than a million participants.
Somewhat of a child prodigy, his drive, skill and determination to pursue his dream, along with the unfailing support he received from his parents, have made Woods the phenomenal sportsman and thoroughly likeable man he is today. In the words of his late father, Earl Woods, “He doesn't need a challenge, I think that is the worst misconception going: That the number-one golfer needs a number-two golfer to push him. Tiger is pushed by history and by records and by his own goals. He doesn't need anybody pushing him.”
Having just experienced the birth of his first child, Sam Alexis Woods, there certainly seems to be no stopping this affable golfing juggernaut with a great sense of humor, who, in his early thirties, is still riding the crest of the wave as a mature and smart man. Woods and his wife announced September 2, 2008, that they were expecting their second child in late winter. "Elin is feeling great and we are both thrilled," Woods said on his Web site. "While my injury has been disappointing and frustrating, it has allowed me to spend a lot of time watching Sam grow. I can't begin to tell you how rewarding it is being a dad and spending time with her and Elin." The couple welcomed baby boy Charlie Axel Woods on February 8, 2009.
Several weeks later, on February 25, 2009, Woods returned to the green in the Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson, Arizona. Woods played against South African golfer Tim Clark, losing 4 to 2 in his first tournament since his injury. In June of 2009, Woods competed again in the U.S. Open. After putting a four-over-par in the first round, Woods quickly fell out of contention for the win.
Although Woods' comeback had not been as auspicious as he'd hoped, he remained No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings, and continued to be the leader in top 10 finishes overall. But after losing the PGA title to Yang Yong-eun, Woods finished the year without a single major win—the first time he had done so since 2004.
While his life on the green seemed lackluster, his personal life was in an even more serious tailspin. In late November, reports surfaced about a tryst between Woods and nightclub manager Rachel Uchitel. Both parties denied a relationship, despite photographic evidence that seemed to indicate otherwise.
On November 27, as the story gained traction, media outlets announced that Woods had collided into a fire hydrant outside his home at 2:30 in the morning. Reports said that Woods' wife had broken the back window of the golfer's SUV with a golf club in order to get him out of the locked car. The golfer's injuries were not serious, and he was quickly released.
The accident aroused suspicions with fans and the media, who instantly pushed for a statement from Woods. But the golfer remained silent on the matter, and mysteriously dropped out of his charity golf tournament, the Chevron World Challenge. He then announced that he would not be attending any other tournaments in 2009.
As the silence grew, so did reports of other Woods mistresses. On December 2, 2009, Woods offered an apology to his fans and family, expressing regret for unnamed "transgressions." But as the mistress count rose to more than a dozen women, with phone evidence to back many claims, Woods was unable to suppress media inquiries into his life. Woods was said to have offered his wife a renegotiation of their prenuptial agreement in order to compel her to stick by him, but reports soon surfaced that Nordgren had purchased a home in Sweden with her sister. Photographers then spotted the former model without her wedding ring.
On December 11, 2009, Woods apologized again to fans—this time, admitting to infidelity. He then announced that he would be taking a hiatus from golf in order to tend to his family. Several days later, he lost his endorsement deal with management company, Accenture, and was suspended from his Gilette endorsement. Other companies, including Nike, Tag Heuer and EA Sports, continue to stand by Woods.
Woods made a return to golf in April of 2010, but the golfer was not quite at the top of his game. His first competition at the 2010 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, ended in a fourth place spot for Woods. On May 9, after not making the cut for the Quail Hollow Championship, Woods withdrew from The Players Championship during the fourth round due to a neck injury. Woods made his return to golf four weeks later at The Memorial Tournament, making his worst finish in the tournament since 2002. At the 2010 U.S. Open, Woods finished the tournament in a tie for fourth place.
Woods' personal life also seemed to be taking a turn for the worse, as news of a possible divorce settlement hit media outlets. The rumored $750 million settlement allegedly included properties in Sweden, and the family home in California for Nordegren, in exchange for his wife's permanent silence on Woods' philandering. Reports also said Nordegren retained full physical custody of their 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son, and Woods agreed not to introduce his children to a new woman unless he married her. If the divorce settlement is finalized, it will be one of the largest settlements in history.
Tiger Woods's Timeline
December 30, 1975
Cypress, California, USA
October 5, 2004
Anaheim, California, United States