Tiger Woods’ amazing golf career, from a two-year-old prodigy to his epic 2019 Comeback Masters win, was in jeopardy after injuries in a serious car crash on Tuesday.
The 45-year-old American, one of the most famous athletes in the world for the past quarter century, was operated on in the early morning near Los Angeles for multiple leg injuries after the wreck.
It could mark the end of a landmark career in which Woods won 15 major titles, three fewer than the record set by Jack Nicklaus, and 82 US PGA crowns, which is the all-time high with Sam Snead.
Woods had many previous off-course issues including multiple back and knee surgeries, the disclosure of several matters in 2009 that resulted in an emotional public apology and divorce from Ms. Elin Nordegren, as well as a reckless driving accident in 2017.
Woods was recovering from back surgery in 2017 when he was arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. His mug shot attracted worldwide attention. He said he failed to notice how prescription drugs he was taking might interact, and later pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
In the 1990s, Woods positioned himself alongside pal and NBA star Michael Jordan as two of the most famous sports stars in the world and the richest advertising men. His fame went beyond golf lovers or sports fans.
Woods delighted the audience with his skill as well as his winning charm and personality. The global audience invited him to their home every week via television while keeping private details about his life.
Woods was the first black Masters winner in 1997 and hugged his father Earl after his all-time record-breaking victory.
In 2019, Woods would lose the same green at Augusta National after winning his first major title since 2008 and hug his kids Sam and Charlie in a bookend moment to signal a full return from the back surgery Woods hoped he was getting would enable a normal life. It also gave him another chance at golf fame.
At the age of two, Woods charmed a TV show with his putt. The child prodigy was a three-time US amateur winner before turning pro in 1996 with advertising deals and the message “Hello World”.
Woods won the Las Vegas Invitational in October 1996 to secure his spot on the PGA Tour, and six months later Augusta National scored a 12-stroke win for a green jacket at age 21 and the start of “Tiger Mania” overwhelmed everything golf had ever seen.
Woods had brought a youthful excitement and fitness emphasis that was not seen among golfers. He provided resourceful shotmaking and a great driving game that made him one of the greatest champions the sport had ever known.
– ‘Tiger Slam’ in 2000-01 –
With the “Tiger Slam” he achieved one of the greatest achievements in golf in 2000 and early 2001 – he won four majors in a row.
Woods won the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach by 15 strokes, the largest major blowout in history, and then won the Open Championship at St. Andrews to complete the career grand slam. He beat Bob May in a playoff at the 2000 PGA and won the Masters in 2001 to own all four major titles at once – an unprecedented feat.
Woods won the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines with a broken leg, defeating Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff. He won six titles in 2019 but lost a major for the first time when he took the lead after 54 holes in the 2009 PGA Championship.
Three months later, after a low speed crash near his home, details of extramarital affairs were released from Woods, resulting in an apology and divorce, as well as a golf dismissal until the 2010 Masters, where he split fourth and began rebuild his career.
Woods wouldn’t win again until 2012 at Bay Hill. He won three titles in 2012 and five in 2013, but back pain constrained him and it would be four surgeries and five years for Woods to win again at the 2018 Tour Championship and set the stage for his 2019 Masters win.
With his final triumph at the 2019 Zozo Championship in Japan, Woods has broken the late Snead for the all-time US PGA record.
After serving as captain for the triumphant 2019 US team at the Presidents Cup in Australia, Woods finished ninth at Torrey Pines, his best result for 2020.
In last year’s Majors, Woods was 37th in the PGA Championship, missed the cut at the US Open, and shared 38th place in the Masters on his last tour outing last November.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)