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.
Woods is registered as an independent voter. In January 2009, Woods delivered a speech commemorating the military at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. In April 2009, Woods visited the White House while promoting the golf tournament he hosts, the AT&T National. In December 2016 and again in November 2017, Woods played golf with President Donald Trump at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.
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Woods was heavily recruited by college golf powers. He chose Stanford University, the 1994 NCAA champions. He enrolled at Stanford in the fall of 1994 under a golf scholarship and won his first collegiate event, the 40th Annual William H. Tucker Invitational, that September. He selected a major in economics and was nicknamed "Urkel" by college teammate Notah Begay III. In 1995, he successfully defended his U.S. Amateur title at the Newport Country Club in Rhode Island and was voted Pac-10 Player of the Year, NCAA First Team All-American, and Stanford's Male Freshman of the Year (an award that encompasses all sports).
Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard: Carded a final-round, 2-under 70 on a Monday finish to defeat Justin Rose by two strokes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, winning the event for a PGA TOUR record-tying eighth time (Sam Snead at the Greater Greensboro Open). His 77th career PGA TOUR win moved him within five wins of all-time leader Snead's 82 victories. With wins at the Cadillac Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, he won in back-to-back starts for the first time since the 2009 Buick Open and World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. Supplanted Rory McIlroy for the No. 1 position in the Official World Golf Ranking. The last time he held the top spot was on October 30, 2010. Surpassed Ernie Els for most weeks in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking, at 789. Had a record run of 736 consecutive weeks in the top 10 from April 13, 1997, to May 15, 2011. Returned to the top 10 on March 25, 2012, where he has since remained. Of his eight Arnold Palmer Invitational wins, has entered the final round with at least a share of the 54-hole lead seven times. Made his 17th start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, with his lone missed cut coming as an amateur in his first start, in 1994. He has played in every event at Bay Hill since, with the exception of 2010.
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am: Searching for his first PGA TOUR win since the 2009 BMW Championship, carded a final-round 3-over 75 and was unable to match playing partner Phil Mickelson's stellar, 8-under 64 that led to victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Paired with Phil Mickelson for the 30th time in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event. The T15 finish came in his seventh start at the event and first since finishing T12 in 2002.
Masters Tournament: Earned third Masters title, joining Nicklaus (1965-66) and Nick Faldo (1989-90) as the only consecutive winners at Augusta National. Only Nicklaus (six wins) and Arnold Palmer (four wins) have more Masters titles. Jimmy Demaret, Faldo, Gary Players and Sam Snead also won three Masters Tournaments. Was tied with Retief Goosen at 11-under entering the final round, birdied two of the first three holes en route to a three-stroke victory over Goosen. Win was his 31st on TOUR.
The foundation operates the Tiger Woods Learning Center, a $50-million, 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) facility in Anaheim, California, providing college-access programs for underserved youth. The TWLC opened in 2006 and features seven classrooms, extensive multi-media facilities and an outdoor golf teaching area. The center has since expanded to four additional campuses: two in Washington, D.C.; one in Philadelphia; and one in Stuart, Florida.
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Woods began his 2012 season with two tournaments (the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am) where he started off well but struggled on the final rounds. Following the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where he was knocked out in the second round by missing a 5-foot putt, Woods revised his putting technique and tied for second at the Honda Classic, with the lowest final round score in his PGA Tour career. After a short time off due to another leg injury, Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his first win on the PGA Tour since the BMW Championship in September 2009. Following several dismal performances, Woods notched his 73rd PGA Tour win at the Memorial Tournament in June, tying Jack Nicklaus in second place for most PGA Tour victories; a month later, Woods surpassed Nicklaus with a win at the AT&T National, to trail only Sam Snead, who accumulated 82 PGA tour wins.