A related effect was measured by University of California economist Jennifer Brown, who found that other golfers scored higher when competing against Woods than when he was not in the tournament. The scores of highly skilled golfers are nearly one stroke better when playing against Woods. This effect was larger when he was on winning streaks and disappeared during his well-publicized slump in 2003–04. Brown explains the results by noting that competitors of similar skill can hope to win by increasing their level of effort, but that, when facing a "superstar" competitor, extra exertion does not significantly raise one's level of winning while increasing risk of injury or exhaustion, leading to reduced effort.
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Surgery: Pulled out of next two PGA TOUR starts, the Genesis Open and The Honda Classic. Released statement: "My doctors have advised me not to play the next two weeks, to continue my treatment and to let my back calm down. This is not what I was hoping for or expecting. I am extremely disappointed to miss the Genesis Open, a tournament that benefits my foundation, and The Honda Classic, my hometown event. I would like to thank Genesis for their support, and I know we will have an outstanding week." In April, announced on his website he had undergone further back surgery. The operation was performed by Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute.
TOUR Championship: Claimed his 80th PGA TOUR title (second most behind Sam Snead's 82) with a two-stroke victory over Billy Horschel for his third-career TOUR Championship title (1999, 2007, 2018). Prior to his win at East Lake, it had been 1,876 days since he last won on the PGA TOUR (2013 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational). Moved from No. 20 to No. 2 in the FedExCup standings, finishing 41 points behind Justin Rose (T4) to become the fourth winner of the TOUR Championship who did not claim the FedExCup. Shared the first-round lead with Rickie Fowler (5-under 65) and the second-round lead with Rose (7-under 133) before moving to a three-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy following a third-round 5-under 65. Following a closing 1-over 71, improved to 54/58 when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead on the PGA TOUR, including a 43/45 mark with the outright lead. Bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16 made things interesting coming down the stretch, but clutch pars on the final two holes sealed the victory. His 80th TOUR win came in his 346th start at the age of 42 years, 8 months and 24 days. By comparison, Snead was 47 when he won his 80th title. The victory was his fourth FedExCup Playoffs tournament title (2007 BMW Championship, 2007 TOUR Championship, 2009 BMW Championship, 2018 TOUR Championship. Ranked No. 2 in Strokes Gained: Putting for the week, making over 100 feet of putts each of the first three rounds and totaling 386'5" for the week (112'7"/R1, 101'5"/R2, 112'8"/R3, 59'9"/R4). Last posted his first three rounds in the 60s in a PGA TOUR event at the 2015 Wyndham Championship, but final-round 71 kept him from posting all four rounds in the 60s for the first time since THE NORTHERN TRUST 2013. Marked his 15th appearance in the TOUR Championship (first since 2013), with nine top-10 showings at the event, including three wins and four runner-up finishes.
Kultida (née Punsawad) is originally from Thailand, where Earl had met her when he was on a tour of duty there in 1968. She is of mixed Thai, Chinese, and Dutch ancestry. Earl was a retired lieutenant colonel and Vietnam War veteran who reported African American, Chinese, and Native American descent. Earl's mother Maude Carter was light skinned. Tiger describes his ethnic make-up as "Cablinasian" (a syllabic abbreviation he coined from Caucasian, Black, American Indian, and Asian).
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Woods played in his first 2020 PGA Tour event at the Zozo Championship in October 2019, which was the first-ever PGA Tour event played in Japan. Woods, who played a highly publicized skins game earlier in the week at the same course as the Championship, held at least a share of the lead after every round of the rain-delayed tournament, giving him a three stroke victory over Hideki Matsuyama. The win was Woods's 82nd on Tour, tying him with Sam Snead for the most victories all time on the PGA Tour.