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29 Things You Need To Know About The Tiger Woods Comeback!

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Tiger  is back, and pro golfing circles are buzzing about the former superstar finally surpassing Jack Nicklaus record after his fall from grace.

The road to golf recovery has been long and winding for Tiger. Following a scandalous divorce, his play on the links was equally messy. He was also hamstrung by a series of injuries over the years. That being said, these are the need-to-know facts about Tiger Woods and his PGA comeback.

This is the story of his historic rise to fame and meteoric fall back to the mean.

1. The Name’s Eldrick

Eldrick Tont Woods was born on December 30, 1975, in Cypress, California to Earl and Kultida Woods. Once the world’s greatest golfer, Tiger’s life was quickly derailed by marital problems and a run in with the law.

2.Who Is Tiger Woods’ Girlfriend?

At the 2017 Presidents Cup, Tiger was spotted with a new and unknown woman by his side. Tiger was not participating but came out as a spectator. He brought with him Erica Herman, the 33 year old general manager of his restaurant The Woods. Herman is the general manager at The Woods, Tiger’s high-class sports bar in Jupiter, Florida.

Herman has supported Woods on the course and spent time with his children, and in the lead up to The Open, they cheered on Serena Williams together at Wimbledon.

3. Start ‘Em While They Are Young

While growing up in Orange County, Tiger was introduced to golf at the ripe age of two. Most kids his age were playing with blocks as he was working on his short game. Earl was a single-handicap golfer himself and would bring young Tiger along on his rounds.

As an active military member, Earl had access to the Navy golf course in Los Alamitos, so Tiger had an extensive exposure to the game.

4. A Star In The Making

It did not take long for Tiger to make his first television appearance.

Tiger and Earl were invited to appear on The Mike Douglas Show, a popular national daytime talk show after Douglas saw Tiger in a feature about kids at the driving range. Two-year-old Tiger had a putting contest with comedian Bob Hope, another one of the show’s guests. After putting two shots past the cup, Tiger picked one up and placed it next to the cup.

5. Hit It Hard

s a thirteen-year-old, Tiger had one of his earliest experiences playing with professionals. He was paired with then 22-year-old John Daly in the 1989 Insurance Youth Golf Classic. Daly was known for his booming drives and anti-country club appearance.

Tiger was beating him by two strokes after nine holes before Daly birdied three of the last four holes to beat him by one stroke. Daly would go on to win the PGA Championship just two years later.

6. Most Likely To Succeed

 As a senior in high school, he was voted “most likely to succeed” by his class for the yearbook superlatives. They were not wrong. Western High School has seen a handful of other professional athletes roam its halls as students, but none as successful as Woods.

 

He graduated in 1994 after becoming the first golfer to win three straight Junior Amateur Championships.

7. Why Does He Wear Red?

You can always find Tiger Woods wearing the color red on the last day of tournaments. This superstition started when he was still playing in junior championships.

FILE PHOTO: PGA: THE PLAYERS Championship – Final Round

Woods listed his reasoning on his website,  “I wear red on Sundays because my mom thinks that that’s my power color, and you know you should always listen to your mom.” It is good to know that he has a bit of a sentimental side.

8. The Cardinal Comes A Callin’

After high school graduation, Tiger moved on to Stanford University on a golf scholarship. He was heavily recruited but chose to join the reigning NCAA Division I champs. If golf were not to work out, Tiger prepared himself for a “real job” by majoring in economics.

Teammate and future PGA golfer Notah Begay III used to tease Tiger, nicknaming him Urkel in reference to the character from Family Matters. The Cardinal had no idea how good of a player he could be.

9. We Are The Champions

Tiger did not stay long at Stanford but made the most of his time there. In addition to his school honor, Woods was voted Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year and was selected to the NCAA First Team All-American in both his freshman and sophomore seasons.

In his two years at Stanford, he won a total of ten events, capping off his tenure with a national championship. At the end of his sophomore year, Tiger decided to turn pro.

10. A Good Guy

In his last year at Stanford in 1996, Tiger won the NCAA individual golf championship. They held a dinner to honor his accomplishment, but encountered one problem – Tiger never showed up. The dinner went on without the guest of honor, but Tiger could not forgive himself for missing the event.

Elin Nordegren, Tiger Woods in attendance for US Open 2006 Men’s Finals, 2006 /shutterstock

To show his appreciation, Tiger wrote 200 personal apology letters to the guests. This might have been his first big apology, but would certainly not be his last.

11. Sponsorships Roll In

After declaring himself as a professional, skipping out on his last two years at Stanford, Tiger quickly saw his fortune take off. He signed huge sponsorship deals with Nike and Titleist for $40 and $20 million respectively, as well as undisclosed deals with General Mills, General Motors, American Express, and Accenture.

At the time, Nike had never endorsed a golfer but would turn Tiger into an advertising superstar as he became the face of the brand alongside Michael Jordan.

12. Sponsorships Over Salary

As dominant as he had been over the course of 1997-2002, Tiger’s income from golf was nowhere near the outrageous amount he made from sponsorships. At his peak, Tiger earned $100 million annually off the course.

He has made $1.4 billion in total since turning professional, but only 10% of that figure is from prize money. Tiger was the highest paid athlete in the world for 11 straight years and is the highest earning athlete of all time.

13. Tiger Woods: The Family Man

As his golf game faltered, Tiger began to expand his family life. In November 2003 he became engaged to Eli Nordegren. Woods was introduced to the Swedish former model by Jesper Parnevik for whom she was working as an au pair.

They married on October 5, 2004, in Barbados with house band Hootie and the Blowfish (singer Darius Rucker is a close friend of Tiger’s). The couple welcomed their daughter, Sam, in 2007, and their son, Charlie, in 2009.

14. The Death Of His Hero

Woods returned to top form in 2005 and 2006, winning the 2005 Masters and Open Championship, in addition to his first two tournaments of 2006. However, his good vibes quickly turned to heartbreak. His father, Earl, died in May 2006, leaving Tiger without his biggest hero.

He returned for the US Open after nine weeks off in which he considered walking away from golf. Tiger fought through his emotions to capture the 2006 Open Championship, which he dedicated to his father’s memory.

15. Fighting Through Pain

Injuries started to catch up to Tiger by 2008. He underwent his third arthroscopic surgery and missed two months of play. Tiger made his return for the 2008 US Open but visibly played through pain. Woods winced after a handful of tee shots, appearing to keep weight off his left leg for much of the tournament.

Tiger beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff to secure his 14th (and most recent) major championship. He required ACL surgery after the tournament, missing the rest of the season.

15. Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 would forever change Tiger Woods. That evening, reports began to spill out that Tiger was in a car accident. After hopping in his Cadillac Escalade, he barely made it out of the driveway before hitting a fire hydrant, tree, and his neighbor’s bushes.

An ambulance came and treated Woods for cuts on his face and police gave him a ticket for reckless driving. Tiger issued a statement, referencing the ordeal as a private matter which did nothing to quell the speculation.

16. The Truth Spills Out

Slowly, the truth about Tiger’s car accident began to come out.  That Thanksgiving Eve, Elin confronted him about his infidelity, eventually losing her cool when she saw his last sent text message, “divorce.” She threw the phone at him, chipping his tooth, then pounded his chest and scratched his face.

With Elin chasing him with a golf club, Tiger hopped in the car and pulled out as she smashed the rear windows. Neighbors found Tiger in the street unconscious and bloodied.

17. The Other Women

Two days after his accident, Woods released a statement saying, “This situation is my fault, and it’s obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I’m human, and I’m not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn’t happen again.” He would follow it up by indefinitely stepping away from golf.

Over the next couple months, multiple women would admit to relationships with Woods. He would make another apology statement saying, “I was living a life of a lie, I really was. And I was doing a lot of things that hurt a lot of people.”

18. Effect On Sponsors

Tiger’s sponsors had good reason to leave him during this debacle – they lost a ton of money. According to a study by UC Davis, his current and former sponsors lost collectively around $10 billion. The study found that the three sports-related endorsements – EA Sports, Gatorade, and Nike – averaged around a 4% drop in stock price.

This totaled $6 billion in losses alone. Before the scandal, Tiger earned around $100 million in endorsements. He lost an estimated $22 million in income.

19. Tiger and Buddhism

One of the most interesting comments in his apology speech was a mention of returning to the teachings of Buddhism. It might have been a shock to many to find out that Tiger was raised on Buddhist principles.

Tiger’s mother is a Buddhist, and he actively practiced Buddhism in his younger days. He hoped that a return to these principles could help him regain some balance in a life that had come off the rails.

20. Details Of The Divorce

With his net worth pushing $750 million, Tiger protected himself from losing half thanks to a prenuptial agreement. That does not mean he got off cheap, but it did help him maintain the wealth that he had earned. Reports suggest that Elin came away with at least $100 million in their divorce.

shutterstock/ The mansion of Elin Nordegran, divorced wife of golf star Tiger Woods, is seen under construction along the beach near Jupiter, Florida on January 12, 2013.

That comes to $20 million per year that they were married, making it one of the most expensive divorces ever behind famed splits such as Rupert Murdoch, Steven Spielberg, and Paul McCartney.

21. The Return To Rock Bottom

On May 29, 2017, Tiger reached arguably his lowest point. Woods was arrested for DUI. He was found asleep at the wheel with his car running stopped in a traffic lane

A breathalyzer indicated that he had no alcohol in his system and he has stated that the incident occurred from an adverse reaction to prescription pills, most likely pain medicine for his back. Whatever the case may be, it has been long fall for golf’s prodigal son.

22. Struggle For Recovery

Under two weeks after his arrest, Tiger Woods checked himself into a rehab center for an addiction to prescription pain killers. At the time of his arrest, he was described as “very dopey” and struggled to speak or walk.

He agreed to begin a 28-day treatment program in an effort to retain joint custody of his children, Sam and Charlie. It is rumored that his custody agreement states that he could lose custody if he is “caught up in a scandal.”

23. Finished 2nd In PGA 2018

Nine years after finishing 2nd in the PGA, Tiger Woods finally saw some form of redemption and achieved the same feat at the 2018 edition of the competition. “I didn’t even know if I was going to play golf again,” he said. “I didn’t know what my schedule would be.

PGA: PGA Championship – Final Round

I didn’t know how many tournaments I would play this year or if I would even play. So each tournament brought  about its own 2challenges.” This might just be the start of a new run of success for Tiger Woods

24. Tiger Comeback Ranking

In his heyday, Tiger topped all players as the No. 1 seed. He maintained this mark for a record 683 total weeks. That’s more than double Greg Norman’s 331, that stands as the second most.

PGA: PGA Championship – First Round

In the midst of what many are calling a return to glory, Tiger has inched back up to No. 26.While growing up in Orange County, Tiger was introduced to golf at the ripe age of two. Most kids his age were playing with blocks as he was working on his short game.

Earl was a single-handicap golfer himself and would bring young Tiger along on his rounds. As an active military member, Earl had access to the Navy golf course in Los Alamitos, so Tiger had an extensive exposure to the game.

25. Tiger Remains A Money Leader

Although he barely tied off in 2017, Tiger still ranked as the 16th highest paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes. That’s not just golf either. His estimated net worth is reportedly upwards of $740 million and he has earned approximately $1.4 billion since 1996.

Of that total, $113 million was the result of winning tournaments. However, tennis player Roger Federer recently topped Tiger as the highest paid non-team sport player earning $110 million.

26. Is Tiger Poised To Take Down Jack Nicklaus?

FILE PHOTO: Mickelson shares a laugh with Woods on the 12th green during practice for the 2018 Masters golf tournament in Augusta

Although Tiger remains the most celebrated golfer in recent memory, he has not actually surpassed the legendary Jack Nicklaus in the one stat that matters: Majors. During a 24-year career that spanned from 1962 to 1986, Nicklaus amassed a record 18 Majors wins. He won six Masters, four U.S. Opens, three Opens and five PGA championships.

Tiger trails Nicklaus with 14 Majors and holds no lead in any single tournament. His closest measure is a 3-3 tie in The Open. Tiger will need a grand slam and at least one other win to pull ahead.

29. Back in the top 10

The most encouraging news about the mythic Tiger Woods comeback comes on the heels of sixth-place finish at the British Open in Scotland. Tiger shot a 71, five-under. The tournament was won by Italy’s Francesco Molinari at -8. That puts the 42-year-old Tiger back in the top 10 for the first time since the 2011 Masters.

PGA: The Open Championship – Final Round



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