Tiger Woods

Eldrick "Tiger" Woods (born December 30, 1975, in Cypress, California) is an American golfer and considered by many to be the greatest golfer of all time. In 2005, at the age of 29, he won his 10th major golf championship, not only placing him 4th on the all-time list behind Jack Nicklaus, Bobby Jones, and Walter Hagen respectively, but also making him the only currently active golfer among the top 20 major champion winners. He also has more wins on the PGA Tour than any other active golfer. Woods, who is of mixed race, is credited with prompting a major surge of interest in the game of golf among minorities and young people in the United States.

Woods' late father, Earl Woods was a Vietnam War veteran and a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, of mixed Black, Chinese and Native American ancestry. He was the chairman of his son's charitable foundation, the Tiger Woods Foundation, before his death at age 74 on May 3, 2006, following a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. Woods' mother, Kultida Woods, is originally from Thailand, and is of mixed Thai, Chinese, and Dutch ancestry. This makes Woods himself one quarter Chinese, one quarter Thai, one quarter African American, one eighth Native American, and one eighth Dutch. He refers to his ethnic make-up as Cablinasian (a portmanteau of Caucasian, Black, American-Indian, and Asian), a term he made up himself.

Woods' actual given name is 'Eldrick'. He was given the nickname 'Tiger' at birth, after Vuong Dang Phong, a Vietnamese war comrade of his father's, and became generally known by that name. By the time he achieved national prominence in junior and amateur golf, he was simply known as "Tiger Woods".

Woods has two half-brothers, Earl Jr.(1955), Kevin (1957), and one half-sister Royce (1958) from the 18 year marriage of Earl Woods and his first wife, Barbara Woods Gary. Earl Jr.'s daughter Cheyenne Woods (1991), Tiger's niece, is also a golfer and had received some coaching from Earl Sr.

In 2004, Woods became engaged to Elin Nordegren, a Swedish model. They were introduced by Swedish golf star Jesper Parnevik, who had employed her as a nanny, in November 2003. They married on October 5, 2004 and live at Isleworth, a community in Windermere, a suburb of Orlando, Florida. They also have homes in Jackson, Wyoming, California and Sweden. In January 2006, Woods and his wife purchased a US$39 million residential property in Jupiter Island, Florida, which they intend to make their primary residence. Woods' Jupiter Island neighbors will include golfers Greg Norman and Nick Price, as well as singers Céline Dion and Alan Jackson. In 2006, Woods was named Forbes highest paid athlete.

Eldrick (Tiger) was a child prodigy who began to play golf at three years old. While still a small child, he demonstrated his golf skills in a television appearance on the Mike Douglas Show. In 1984, he won the 9-10 boys' event at the Junior World Golf Championships; Tiger was only eight years old at the time, but 9-10 was the youngest age group available. Tiger went on to win the Junior World Championships six times, including four consecutive wins from 1988-1991. Woods then won the U.S. Junior Amateur title in 1991, 1992, and 1993; he remains the event's youngest-ever winner. He followed this by becoming the only person to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles over the next three years. He was a member of the American team at the 1994 World Amateur Golf Team Championships. With his first US Amateur win in 1994 over Trip Kuehne, the year that he graduated from high school, he became the youngest player ever to win that event. His five USGA Championships before age 20 qualify him for consideration as having the greatest under-20 golf career of all time. He attended Stanford University and won one NCAA individual championship. In 1996, Woods decided to drop out of Stanford after 2 years, to pursue professional golf.

With the announcement, "Hello World," Tiger Woods became a professional golfer in August 1996, playing his first round of professional golf at the Greater Milwaukee Open. His caddy was George Wutton. He won two events in the next three months, and was named 1996's "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated for the enormous impact he had on the game of golf even as a rookie. The following April, Woods won The Masters by a record margin of 12 strokes, and has been by far the highest-profile golfer in the world ever since. On 15 June 1997, Woods rose to the number one spot in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time, though he was quickly supplanted by Ernie Els, and then David Duval.

Woods has formed a close friendship with leading PGA Tour professional Mark O'Meara, though O'Meara is almost twenty years his senior. O'Meara acted as a mentor to Woods for a time, and the two men won the 1999 World Cup of Golf together. The inspiration of working closely with Tiger was widely regarded as a catalyst for O'Meara's own career year in 1998, when he won the only two majors of his career.

Despite suggestions that the other players would only be competing for second place from now on, Woods' form began to fade in the second half of 1997, and in 1998 he only won one PGA Tour event. In June 1999, Woods won the Memorial Tournament, a victory that marked the beginning of perhaps the greatest sustained period of dominance in the history of men's golf. He would go on to win seventeen PGA Tour events in the two calendar years that followed, and 32 in the next five, both achievements that had not been rivaled in several decades. Also in late 1999, Tiger embarked on a record-setting streak of 264 consecutive weeks atop the Official World Golf Rankings. During the run, Woods won seven out of the eleven major championships, starting with the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club and finishing with the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. Woods broke Old Tom Morris' record for the largest victory margin ever in a major championship, which had stood since 1862, with his 15-shot win in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. In the 2000 The Open Championship at St Andrews, Woods set the record for lowest score to par (-19) in any major tournament, and he holds at least a share of that record in all four major championships. His major championship streak was seriously threatened at the 2000 PGA Championship, however, when upstart Bob May went head-to-head with Woods on Sunday at Valhalla in Louisville, matching Tiger stroke-for-stroke. Woods only escaped with his third straight major on the second playoff hole, where he made par and May's roller-coaster putt to tie missed by mere inches. The next season, though, Woods went back to dominating: his 2001 Masters win marked the only time anyone had ever won four consecutive majors, a feat which has become known as the "Tiger Slam". His adjusted scoring average of 67.79 in 2000 was the lowest in PGA TOUR history, lower than his 68.43 average in 1999. His actual scoring average of 68.17 in 2000 was the lowest in PGA TOUR history, including Byron Nelson's 68.33 average in 1945.

The next phase of Woods' career saw him remain among the top competitors on the tour, but lose his dominating edge. He did not win a major in 2003 or 2004, and fell to second in the PGA Tour money list in 2003 and to fourth on 2004. In September 2004, Woods' record streak as the world's top-ranked golfer came to an end at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Massachusetts, when Vijay Singh won the tournament and overtook Woods in the rankings. Even though no one has held the number one ranking for more total weeks than Woods, many commentators were puzzled by Tiger's "slump," offering explanations that ranged from Tiger's rift with swing coach Butch Harmon to his recent marriage to Elin Nordegren. At the same time, Woods let it be known that he was once again working on changes to his swing -- this time in hopes of reducing the wear and tear on his surgically-repaired left knee, which was subjected to severe stress in the 1998-2003 version of his swing. Again, Woods anticipated that once the adjustments were complete, he would return to his previous form.

In the 2005 PGA Tour season, Woods quickly returned to his winning ways. On March 6, he outdueled Phil Mickelson to win the Ford Championship at Doral, and returned to the Official World Golf Rankings' number one position in the process (though Singh displaced him once again two weeks later). On April 10, Woods finally broke his "drought" in the majors by winning the 2005 Masters in a tie-breaking playoff (after holing a historic chip-in on the 16th hole, which commentators and golfers had thought impossible to hole), which also assured him the number one spot in the World Rankings again. Singh and Woods swapped the Number 1 position several times over the next couple of months, but by early July, Woods had established a substantial advantage, propelled further by a victory in The Open Championship, a win that also gave him his 10th major. Tiger went on to win six official money events on the PGA Tour in 2005, topping the money list for the sixth time in his career. Woods' 2005 wins also included two at the World Golf Championships; he has won in 10 of his 19 career individual World Golf Championships appearances for an incredible 0.526 winning percentage.

To date, Woods has won 48 official money events on the PGA Tour, 18 other individual professional titles, and two team titles in the two-man WGC-World Cup. He owns the lowest career scoring average and the most career earnings of any player in PGA Tour history. Tiger is one of only five players (along with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player) in the history of golf to have won all four professional major championships in his career (known as the "Career Grand Slam"). With his win in the 2005 Open Championship, he became only the second golfer, after Nicklaus, to have won all four majors more than once. At the 2003 TOUR Championship, he set an all-time record for most consecutive cuts made with 114 (passing Byron Nelson's previous record of 113), and extended this mark to 142 before it ended on May 13, 2005 at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. The streak started in 1998. Many commentators consider this one of the most remarkable golf accomplishments of all time, given the margin by which he broke the old record (and against much stronger fields than those in Nelson's day) and given that during the streak, the next longest streak by any other player was usually only in the 10s or 20s.

The only disappointment so far in Tiger's career has been his relatively poor performances in the Ryder Cup particularly in the team section of that competition. Some believe the pressure on Woods is too great at this competition and it is clear that he is not entirely comfortable with the event’s playing format. In his four previous Cup matches his record is a mediocre return of seven wins, 11 losses and two halves. Not what many expect of the world's number one.

Woods won the "World Sportsman of the Year" award at the Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000 and 2001. He is the only individual two-time winner of Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award (1996, 2000). In many experts' eyes, Tiger's career accomplishments through 2005 (remarkably, all before the age of 30) qualify him for consideration as the greatest golfer of all time.

Steve Williams has caddied for Woods since 1999, and has been a close friend of Woods since he began playing as an amateur. He is often credited with helping Tiger with key shots and putts.

When Woods burst onto the professional golf scene in 1996, one of the things that made the biggest impact on fans was his prodigious driving. However, when he refused to upgrade his technology in the following years (insisting upon the use of True Temper Dynamic Gold steel-shafted clubs and smaller steel clubheads that promoted accuracy over distance), many opponents caught up to him, a trend that became obvious during the 2002-2003 PGA Tour seasons -- Phil Mickelson even made a crack in 2003 about Tiger using "inferior equipment". During 2004, Woods finally upgraded his driver technology to a titanium clubhead and graphite shaft which helped improve his already amazing length off the tee. He currently plays True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shafts in his irons and Grafalloy BiMatrix prototype shaft in his driver. This shaft, made by a company owned by True Temper is part graphite, part steel.

Despite his length advantage, Woods has always focused on developing an excellent all-around game. Although in recent years he has typically been near the bottom of the Tour rankings in driving accuracy, his iron play is generally as accurate as any player ever to play (including Jack Nicklaus), his recovery and bunker play is often brilliant (for example, his miraculous 30-foot chip-in at Augusta's 16th during the 2005 Masters), and his putting (especially under pressure) is possibly his greatest asset. He is largely responsible for a shift to higher standards of athleticism amongst professional golfers, and is known for putting in more hours of practice than most.

Early in his professional career, Woods worked almost exclusively with leading swing coach Butch Harmon, but since March 2004, he has been coached by Hank Haney. In June 2004, Woods was involved in a media spat with Harmon, who also works as a golf broadcaster, when Harmon suggested that he was in "denial" about the problems in his game, but they publicly patched up their differences.

Although he is considered one of the most charismatic figures in golf's history, Woods' approach is, at its core, cautious. He aims for consistency: although he is better than any other Tour player when he is in top form, his dominance comes not from posting extremely low rounds (though he has been known to do that from time to time), but rather from avoiding bad rounds. To illustrate, the standard deviations of Woods' 18-hole scores are typically lower than those of most Tour players. Tiger plays fewer tournaments than most professionals (20-23 per year, compared to the typical 25-30), and focuses his efforts on preparing for (and peaking at) the Majors and the most prestigious of the other tournaments. Woods' manner off of the course is cautious as well, as he carries himself in interviews and public appearances with a carefully controlled demeanor. One of the few breaches of Tiger's fan-friendly image occurred during the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, on the 18th tee in the second round. Hitting driver, Woods snap-hooked his tee shot into the Pacific Ocean, then let loose with a rich stream of expletives that NBC's microphones captured in real time. But while the USGA received several calls from offended viewers, Tiger quickly apologized.

Tiger almost always wears a shirt in the shade of various reds on the final round (usually on Sundays) of every tournament in which he plays, as he believes the color red symbolizes aggression and assertiveness. Woods also puts tape on his middle and ring fingers before playing on Sundays, but not for medical reasons.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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