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Tiger Woods News: Golfer Returning to Course for Hero World Challenge
Golfer Tiger Woods is set to play his first competitive tournament since the 2023 Masters in April, teeing off in the Hero World Challenge on November 30. Woods hosts the annual event, which is limited to 20 of the world’s best golfers, at the Albany Golf Club in The Bahamas. The 47-year-old announced the field for his exclusive tournament in October, including a spot for a “TBA Tournament Exemption” that he will now fill.
The 15-time major champion has played in only five PGA tournaments since suffering significant injuries in a February 2021 car accident in California. He is currently ranked No. 1,307 in the Official World Golf Ranking because of his inactivity. Woods underwent fusion surgery on his right ankle in April after withdrawing from the Masters with plantar fasciitis. “My ankle is fine. Where they fused my ankle, I have absolutely zero issue whatsoever. That pain is completely gone,” Woods told the Associated Press earlier this month.
Who Is Tiger Woods?
Professional golfer Tiger Woods has won 82 PGA Tour events—tied with Sam Snead for the most ever—and 15 major championships, the second-most in history. Woods broke onto the scene at age 21 by winning the 1997 Masters with a record score, making him the youngest man and the first African American to earn the title. Over the next 12 years, Woods won 13 more majors and was named the PGA Player of the Year 10 times. He became one of the highest-earning athletes in any sport, thanks in large part to a lucrative endorsement deal with Nike, and is considered one of the most famous athletes of the 21st century. However, Woods has struggled to regain his top form after a string of personal problems surfaced in 2009, followed by a series of injuries. A 2021 car accident in California subsequently ended his career as a full-time professional, but he continues competing in select tournaments.
FULL NAME: Eldrick Tont Woods
BORN: December 30, 1975
BIRTHPLACE: Cypress, California
SPOUSE: Elin Nordegren (2004-2010)
CHILDREN: Sam and Charlie
ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Capricorn
HEIGHT: 6 ft. 1 in.
Early Life and Parents
Eldrick Tont Woods, better known as Tiger Woods, was born on December 30, 1975, in Cypress, California, the only child of a Black father and a Thai mother. His dad, Earl, was an officer in the Army and met his mom, Kultida, while stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War.
Earl began calling his son “Tiger” when he was a child in honor of a fellow soldier and friend who had the same moniker. The nickname stuck. The father and son were very close. “My dad was my best friend and greatest role model,” Tiger shared on his website announcing Earl’s May 2006 death from prostate cancer.
Earl was the person who first introduced young Tiger to golf. The future champion learned to play as a young boy, with his dad serving as his teacher and mentor. By the age of 8, Tiger had become extremely proficient at the game, even showing off his skills on television shows such as Good Morning America. Woods eventually studied at Stanford University and won a number of amateur U.S. golf titles before turning professional in 1996 at age 20.
Early Career (1997-2009)
Woods shot to fame after winning the Masters in 1997—with a record score of 270—at age 21. He became the youngest person to earn the title and the first Black person to accomplish this feat.
In his first appearance at the British Open later that year, Woods tied the course record of 64. The next few years brought even more successes, including four U.S. PGA titles, three U.S. Open wins, three Open Championship wins, and three Masters wins.
In 2003, among Woods’ five wins were the Buick Invitational and the Western Open. The next year, Woods won only one official PGA Tour championship but, personally, was thriving as he married his longtime girlfriend, Elin Nordegren. Returning to dominate the sport in 2005, he won six championships and was voted the PGA Tour Player of Year for the seventh time in nine years. In 2006, Woods won several events, including the PGA Championship and the British Open.
After taking some time off to welcome his daughter, Sam, in June 2007, Woods won the World Golf Championship and the PGA Championship that August. The next month, his winning ways continued, as he garnered the top spot at the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship. He was named Player of the Year by the other participants in the PGA Tour and won his eighth Arnold Palmer Award for being the lead money earner.
Woods won the U.S. Open on June 16, 2008, in a 19-hole playoff, overcoming sporadic pain in his left knee from arthroscopic surgery performed on April 15. Woods shot a par 4 on the first and only hole of sudden death while American Rocco Mediate, 45, settled for a bogey.
Their sudden death duel at Torrey Pines in San Diego followed an 18-hole playoff, which saw the two finish at par. In that playoff, Woods led Mediate by three shots after the first 10 holes. Mediate then birdied three of the next five holes and took the lead. But on the final hole, Woods birdied while Mediate shot par, forcing the sudden death round.
“I think this is probably the best ever,” Woods said. “All things considered, I don’t know how I ended up in this position, to be honest with you.” The victory gave Woods his third U.S. Open championship and 14th major title, just four behind the all-time record held by Jack Nicklaus.
Two days later, however, Woods announced he would miss the rest of the season because his left knee required more reconstructive surgery. He also revealed he had suffered a double stress fracture in his left tibia two weeks before the U.S. Open tournament, ignoring doctors’ advice to take six weeks off to let it heal. “While my injury has been disappointing and frustrating, it has allowed me to spend a lot of time watching Sam grow,” Woods wrote on his website in September 2008. Also during this time off, Woods and his wife had their second child, a son, in February 2009.
On February 25, 2009—two and a half weeks after his son’s birth—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 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 hadn’t been as auspicious as he’d hoped, he remained No. 1 in the 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.
Ex-Wife and Kids
Throughout the first part of his career, Woods’ personal life also blossomed as he got married and started a family. He married his longtime girlfriend Elin Nordegren, a Swedish model, in October 5, 2004.
His wife gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Sam Alexis Woods, in June 2007. The couple then welcomed a son named Charlie Axel Woods in February 2009.
Ultimately, Woods and Nordegren’s marriage didn’t last. The couple divorced in August 2010 following Woods’ cheating scandal. The terms of the divorce weren’t made public except that they would share parenting duties of 3-year-old Sam and 1-year-old Sam.
In late November 2009, 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 from the crash weren’t 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 wouldn’t be attending any more tournaments in 2009.
As the silence grew, so did reports of more of the golfer’s 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. Their divorced was finalized within a year.
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 the management company Accenture and was suspended from his Gillette endorsement. Other companies, including Nike, Tag Heuer, and EA Sports, continued to stand by Woods.
Injury-Filled Mid-Career (2010-2017)
Woods made a return to golf in April 2010, but the 34-year-old golfer wasn’t quite at the top of his game. His first competition at the 2010 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, resulted in a fourth place finish. On May 9, after missing the cut for the Quail Hollow Championship, Woods withdrew from the Players Championship during the fourth round due to a neck injury. Woods wasn’t gone for long. Four weeks later, he competed at the Memorial Tournament but delivered his worst performance in the tournament since 2002. At the 2010 U.S. Open, Woods finished in a tie for fourth place.
After years of personal and professional turmoil, Woods finally got his golf game clicking again in 2012. He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March for his first PGA Tour victory since 2009. That summer, he topped the field at the AT&T National to surpass Nicklaus with career victory No. 74, leaving him eight behind the record of 82 held by Sam Snead.
The 2013 season was another triumphant one for Woods. He won five tournaments, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Farmers Insurance Open, and the Players Championship, plus was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year for the 11th time.
However, just as Woods appeared primed to resume his march toward Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships, injuries flared up to derail his performance. The golfer underwent back surgery in March 2014 and struggled after returning to competitive play.
The following year, he appeared in two early tournaments before taking a break to let his sore back heal and work on his game. Woods returned in time to tee off at the 2015 Masters in April, finishing a solid 5-under par to claim a tie for 17th place.
He suffered from back injuries in the ensuing years and underwent his fourth back surgery in April 2017. His time away from the green was prolonged by an arrest in May that led him to rehab. Woods return to competitive golf once more for the start of his personal tournament, the Hero World Challenge, at the end of that November.
The golfing legend continued to experience ups and downs in his personal life following his widely publicized infidelity. In May 2017, police found Woods sleeping in his car, which was running and had its brake lights and blinkers on, at the side of the road near his Florida home. He was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, however, a breath alcohol test showed no signs of alcohol in his system.
In a statement, Woods said that he had “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.” He also thanked the police for their professionalism and issued an apology. “I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and the fans,” he said in the statement. “I expect more from myself too.”
In June 2017, Woods reportedly checked into a clinic to receive professional help to manage medication intake for pain and a sleep disorder. In late October, he pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge for the May incident and agreed to enter a program for first-time offenders to avoid a conviction for driving under the influence.
Late Career (2018-2020)
In 2018, the veteran golfer finally found his game clicking into place again. After tying for second place at the Valspar Championship, his best finish since 2013, Woods got off to an excellent start with a 4-under 68 in the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, before finishing in a tie for fifth. Following another strong showing at the British Open in July, he resurfaced in the top 50 of the world golf ranking.
In August, it was announced that a rumored one-on-one showdown between Woods and Phil Mickelson was formally on for Thanksgiving weekend. Woods lost the $9 million, winner-take-all match to his longtime rival, though he delivered the highlight of the day by sinking a 22-foot chip shot on the par-3 17th hole.
The golfer’s strong play continued into 2019. His 10th place showing at the WGC-Mexico Championship in February left him on the cusp of cracking the Top 10 again. On April 14, Woods completed a final-round 2-under 70 at the Masters for his first major championship in nearly 11 years. It was his fifth win at the Masters and the 15th major title of his career, reviving his chances of reaching the record 18 held by Nicklaus.
Off the green, Woods was also thriving. On May 6, 2019, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump, who noted the golfer’s ability to battle back from adversity and his “relentless will to win, win, win.” The medal is the highest civilian honor. “This has been an unbelievable experience,” Woods told a gathering of family and supporters. “You’ve seen the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, and I would not be in this position without your help.”
After undergoing another knee operation in August 2019, Woods returned to the course in October with an impressive first-round 64 at the inaugural Zozo Championship in Chiba, Japan. He matched that effort the following day, showing vintage form as he gave the competition few opportunities to catch up and roared away to a three-stroke win over Hideki Matsuyama for his 82nd career PGA title, tying the 54-year-old record held by Snead.
His back problems flaring up again, Woods took advantage of the coronavirus-related PGA Tour shutdown to have back surgery in April 2020. His body responded well enough to beat Mickelson in their “Champions for Charity” rematch the following month, with NFL legends Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in tow to add some levity with their errant shots and good-natured banter.
Ex-Girlfriend Erica Herman and Lawsuit
After dating professional skier Lindsey Vonn from roughly March 2013 until early spring 2015, Woods was again single for some time. Then, toward the end of 2017, he confirmed that he was in a relationship with restaurant manager Erica Herman.
After many years together, the couple split at the beginning of 2023. Herman then filed a lawsuit accusing Woods of sexual assault over a nondisclosure agreement the golfer had her sign at the beginning of their relationship. She also filed a lawsuit seeking $30 million from Woods’ trust that owns his Jupiter Island mansion in Florida. However, Herman dropped both lawsuits with prejudice in November 2023.
Car Accident and Part-Time Comeback
Woods was hospitalized on February 23, 2021, after being involved in a “single vehicle roll-over traffic collision” in Los Angeles County, California. “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,” according to the statement from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. They later clarified that an ax and pry were actually used to help remove Woods from the vehicle.
Woods underwent emergency surgery for “significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by orthopedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center,” the Center’s chief medical officer shared with the press. It was later revealed that Woods suffered multiple breaks in his right tibia and fibula and also damaged his feet.
Woods returned home from the hospital on March 16 and began the rehabilitation process. On November 21, he posted a three-second video of himself swinging a golf club with a caption saying, “Making progress.” Days later, he revealed in a news conference that he wouldn’t return as a full-time PGA Tour player but will continue playing in select tournaments.
After playing in the December 2021 PNC Championship, Woods next competed at the Masters in April 2022 and made the weekend cut. However, he tumbled to 13 over par by the final round and finished 47th.
Playing with Son Charlie
Like his famous father, Tiger’s son, Charlie, has built a reputation as a golf prodigy. In June 2023, Charlie won the Major Championship of the Hurricane Jr. Golf tour, topping the Boys 14-15 Division by eight strokes and being the only competitor to finish under par. Later that year, Charlie helped his boys’ team at the Benjamin School capture the Florida Class A state championship.
In addition to his low scores, Charlie has gone viral for his striking resemblance to his father on the course—from their matching outfits to their nearly identical club twirl following a shot.
Tiger sometimes serves as Charlie’s caddie, and the father-son duo have also competed together in recent years. The pair participated in the PNC Championship, a PGA-sponsored tournament pairing major champions with a member of their respective families, each year since 2020. In 2021, Tiger and Charlie—then only 12—nearly won the tournament, ultimately finishing second to John Daly and his son.
Tiger Woods Net Worth
Woods is one of the highest-earning professional athletes of all time, with his net worth estimated at $800 million as of June 2023, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
The greatest thing about tomorrow is, I will be better than I am today... There is no such thing as a setback. The lessons I learn today I will apply tomorrow, and I will be better.
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