Tiger Woods: A Biography of One of Golf's Giants

Tiger Woods smiles during a practice day for the 2008 CA Championship tournament
Golfer Tiger Woods. David Cannon/Getty Images

Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golfer ever, and inarguably one of the top handful of greatest. The "Tiger Effect" thrilled crowds, increased PGA Tour purses and raised TV ratings beginning in 1996, when he turned pro.

Date of birth: Dec. 30, 1975
Place of birth: Cypress, California
Nickname: Tiger, of course. His given name is Eldrick. (He does have additional nicknames, however.)

Tiger's Trophies

PGA Tour Victories:

79
(View the full list of tournaments won by Woods)

Major Championships:

Professional: 14

  • Masters: 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005
  • U.S. Open: 2000, 2002, 2008
  • British Open: 2000, 2005, 2006
  • PGA Championship: 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007

(Read more about Tiger's record in majors)

Amateur: 3

  • U.S. Amateur: 1994, 1995, 1996

Awards and Honors for Tiger Woods

  • PGA Tour money leader, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013
  • PGA Vardon Trophy winner (low scoring average), 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2013
  • PGA Tour Player of the Year, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013
  • Dozens of Golfer of the Year and Athlete of the Year awards, going back to his amateur days
  • U.S. Presidents Cup team member, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013
  • U.S. Ryder Cup team member, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2012

Quote, Unquote

A sampling of quotes from Woods:

  • "Every day on the golf course is about making little adjustments, taking what you've got on that day and finding the way to deal with it."
  • "No matter how good you get (at golf), you can always get better. And that's the exciting part."
  • "Golf to me isn't just something to do. I love this game. It's like a drug I have to have."
  • "The best year of my life was when I was 11. I got straight As, had two recesses a day and the cutest girlfriend, and won 32 tournaments that year. Everything's been downhill since."

    Tiger Woods Trivia

    • Tiger Woods became the youngest-ever career grand slam winner in 2000, at age 25, when he won the British Open.
    • In 1997, Tiger Woods became the youngest-ever Masters champion at age 21 years, three months and 14 days.
    • Woods was the youngest (15) ever to win the U.S. Junior Amateur and the youngest (18) to win the U.S. Amateur.
    • Woods currently stands second on the PGA Tour career wins list with 79, and second on the major wins list with 14.
    • Woods has led the PGA Tour in wins in 12 different years; no other golf has done it more than six years.
    • Woods has 10 PGA Tour seasons with five or more victories, also the tour record.

    Biography of Tiger Woods

    The world had never before seen a golfing phenom the likes of Tiger Woods: a golfer whose amazing youth and amateur exploits were followed up by equally amazing professional exploits.

    Woods was imitating his father's golf swing at age 6 months, while still in his crib. At age 2, he appeared on the Mike Douglas Show and putted with Bob Hope. At age 3, he shot 48 for nine holes, and at age 5 he was featured in Golf Digest.

    And then the really impressive stuff started. Woods won the Optimist International Junior tournament six times, starting at age 8.

    He won three U.S. Junior Amateurs, the first to do so. His first of three straight U.S. Amateur titles came in 1994. Woods played two years in college at Stanford University.

    He turned pro in late summer 1996 and played seven tournaments on the PGA Tour, needing to finish in the Top 125 in money to avoid having to go through Q-School. Woods won twice and posted five consecutive Top 5 finishes.

    In 1997, he won The Masters for his first major. Woods won just once in 1998, but in 1999 he began a string of consecutive Player of the Year awards that didn't end until Vijay Singh won the title in 2004.

    He won eight times in 1999, then nine more times in 2000. Woods' 2000 season is one of the best ever on the PGA Tour: He became the second golfer to win three professional majors in one year and broke Byron Nelson's more-than-50-year-old scoring average record.

    In 2001, when he won the Masters, Woods became the first golfer to hold all four professional majors at the same time, what came to be called the "Tiger Slam."

    At one point, Woods held or shared the record for the low score in relation to par in all four professional majors. He's won the U.S. Open by 15 strokes, the Masters by 12 and the British Open by eight strokes.

    A swing change slowed his winning a bit in 2004, and his record streak of consecutive cuts ended at 142 in 2005. But he roared back with two majors in 2005.

    Woods took a couple months off in 2006 following the death of his father, and missed the cut in his return at the U.S. Open. But then he won the next two majors and reeled off wins in the next eight tournaments he played.

    In 2008, Woods won a dramatic playoff victory in the U.S. Open, then revealed that he was playing with a torn ACL and with a fracture in his leg. He underwent surgery shortly after and missed the next eight months. The 2009 WGC Accenture Match Play Championship marked his return.

    Woods' golf career and personal life where thrown into upheaval late in 2009, though, when Woods was involved in a 1-car accident outside his Florida home that started a chain of events leading to him undergoing counseling for sex addiction, the revelation of multiple mistresses, and divorce from wife Elin Nordegren. (Before they divorced, Tiger and Elin had two children, a daughter named Sam and a son named Charlie.) On the heels of that, Woods had his first winless season as a professional in 2010.

    Woods went winless again in tour events in 2011, but did win his own Chevron World Challenge late in the year. He finally got back in the PGA Tour winner's circle with a 5-shot victory at the 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    In 2013, he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational again, for the eighth time, tying Sam Snead's record for most wins in the same tournament.

    But injury problems, including back surgeries, plagued Woods in 2014 and 2015, leading to two of his worst seasons to date. (See: The Many Injuries and Surgeries of Tiger Woods) He then missed the entire 2016 PGA Tour season before undergoing another back surgery early in 2017.

    In mid-2017, Woods was pulled over by police in Florida in the middle of the night and arrested on DUI charges. Breathalyzer tests showed no signs of alcohol; Woods said he'd had a bad reaction to prescription medicines. A couple weeks later, Woods reportedly checked himself into an addiction treatment facility to deal with a reliance on painkillers stemming from his many injuries.

    Off the course, Woods has launched a golf course design company. He published a golf instructional book called How I Play Golf (buy it on Amazon). And the Tiger Woods Foundation, launched by Woods and his father in 1996, has raised millions of dollars to help underprivileged youth get started in golf and succeed in life. He has also launched a golf course design business.

    Much More In the Tiger Woods FAQ

    This brief biographical profile of Woods provides an overview of his golf career and a few tidbits about his personal life.

    For much more - profile of his mother, his big ol' yacht and giant house, why he wears red shirts in the final round, his equipment and endorsements, and much, much more - see our Tiger Woods FAQ.

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    Kelley, Brent. "Tiger Woods: A Biography of One of Golf's Giants." ThoughtCo, Jun. 13, 2017, thoughtco.com/tiger-woods-biography-1566429. Kelley, Brent. (2017, June 13). Tiger Woods: A Biography of One of Golf's Giants. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/tiger-woods-biography-1566429 Kelley, Brent. "Tiger Woods: A Biography of One of Golf's Giants." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/tiger-woods-biography-1566429 (accessed December 13, 2017).