World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship: Defeated Stewart Cink 8 and 7 in the 36-hole championship match to capture the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship for the third time. The victory was his fourth straight on the PGA TOUR and the 63rd of his career, passing Arnold Palmer for fourth all-time in career PGA TOUR wins, one behind Ben Hogan.
On February 5, 2015, Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open after another back injury. Woods stated on his website that it was unrelated to his previous surgery and he would take a break from golf until his back healed. He returned for the Masters, finishing in a tie for 17th. In the final round, Woods injured his wrist after his club hit a tree root. He later stated that a bone popped out of his wrist, but he adjusted it back into place and finished the round. Woods then missed the cut at the 2015 U.S. Open and Open Championship, the first time Woods missed the cut at consecutive majors, finishing near the bottom of the leaderboard both times. He finished tied for 18th at the Quicken Loans National on August 2. In late August 2015, Woods played quite well at the Wyndham Championship finishing the tournament at 13-under, only four strokes behind the winner, and tied for 10th place. Woods offered only a brief comment on the speculation that he was still recovering from back surgery, saying it was "just my hip" but offering no specifics.
Woods was raised as a Buddhist, and he actively practiced his faith from childhood until well into his adult, professional golf career. In a 2000 article, Woods was quoted as saying that he "believes in Buddhism... not every aspect, but most of it." He has attributed his deviations and infidelity to his losing track of Buddhism. He said, "Buddhism teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught."
THE PLAYERS Championship: Withdrew on the seventh hole in the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship with a lingering neck injury that caused tingling in the fingers in his right hand. Shot 70-71-71 in first three rounds. It was the third time he has withdrawn from a TOUR event as a professional (2006 Northern Trust Open, 1998 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am). Also withdrew from the 1995 U.S. Open as an amateur.
PGA Championship: In head-to-head battle with fellow California junior star Bob May, won PGA in three-hole playoff. Became first player since Denny Shute in 1936-37 to defend PGA title. Both players played the final-round back nine in 31, and he birdied the final two holes to force the three-hole playoff with May. He went birdie-par-par to beat May. He finished 18-under, giving him a share of the PGA most under-par record with May.
The following year, Woods won his third consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur Championship; he remains the event's only three-time winner. In 1994, at the TPC at Sawgrass in Florida, he became the youngest winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, a record he held until 2008 when it was broken by Danny Lee. He was a member of the American team at the 1994 Eisenhower Trophy World Amateur Golf Team Championships (winning), and the 1995 Walker Cup (losing).
THE PLAYERS Championship: In his next start, claimed on Mother's Day his second PLAYERS Championship victory after opening with a pair of 5-under 67s. He had previously not had back-to-back rounds in the 60s at THE PLAYERS since the second and third rounds in 2004 (T16). The only other time he accomplished the feat was in 2001 (second, third and fourth rounds), when he won. With his win, joined Jack Nicklaus, Steve Elkington, Hal Sutton, Fred Couples and Davis Love III as multiple winners of the event. The victory at TPC Sawgrass became his fourth of the campaign, the earliest he has achieved the feat in a season. The win was also his 16th in Florida, the most of any state. Converted the 54-hole lead for the 53rd time (in 57 attempts).
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Following an outstanding junior, college, and amateur golf career, Woods turned professional in 1996 at the age of 20. By the end of April 1997, he had won three PGA Tour events in addition to his first major, the 1997 Masters, which he won by 12 strokes in a record-breaking performance. He reached number one in the world rankings for the first time in June 1997, less than a year after turning pro. Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, Woods was the dominant force in golf. He was the top-ranked golfer in the world from August 1999 to September 2004 (264 weeks) and again from June 2005 to October 2010 (281 weeks). During this time, he won 13 of golf's major championships.
Farmers Insurance Open: In his first official PGA TOUR start in over a year, carded rounds of 72-71-70-72 to finish T23 at the Farmers Insurance Open, his 17th start in the event. Marked his first time playing the weekend at Torrey Pines since 2014, with a WD and missed cut in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Stats for the week included: 17 of 56 fairways, 42 of 72 greens in regulation and 110 putts.
Surpassed Greg Norman for most weeks at No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking following PGA Championship with his 332nd combined week at the top. Consecutive weeks reign at No. 1 ended at 264, as Vijay Singh took over world No. 1 on Sept. 6, the week following the Deutsche Bank Championship. Entered 2005 season with streak of 133 consecutive made cuts intact.
AT&T National: Surpassed Nicklaus on all-time PGA TOUR victories list, with his 74th, at the AT&T National, his second win at Congressional CC. Trails only Sam Snead's 82 PGA TOUR victories. Overcame a one-stroke deficit of 54-hole leader Brendon de Jonge, posting a final-round 69 to edge runner-up Bo Van Pelt by two strokes. Two-time FedExCup champion moved to No. 1 in the FedExCup standings for the first time in 100 weeks with his third victory of the campaign, the 12th time in his TOUR career he has compiled at least three wins in a season.
Since his record-breaking win at the 1997 Masters, Woods has been the biggest name in golf and his presence in tournaments has drawn a huge fan following. Some sources have credited him for dramatically increasing prize money in golf, generating interest in new PGA tournament audiences, and for drawing the largest TV ratings in golf history.
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