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.
When Woods was 13 years old, he played in the 1989 Big I, which was his first major national junior tournament. In the final round, he was paired with pro John Daly, who was then relatively unknown. The event's format placed a professional with each group of juniors who had qualified. Daly birdied three of the last four holes to beat Woods by only one stroke. As a young teenager, Woods first met Jack Nicklaus in Los Angeles at the Bel-Air Country Club, when Nicklaus was performing a clinic for the club's members. Woods was part of the show, and he impressed Nicklaus and the crowd with his skills and potential. Earl Woods had researched in detail the career accomplishments of Nicklaus and had set his young son the goals of breaking those records.
Ryder Cup: Was selected as a captain's pick for the United States in the Ryder Cup and made his eighth start in the biennial team event. Played in his first Ryder Cup since 2012 and failed to score any points for the U.S. in four matches played. Lost 2 and 1 to Jon Rahm in Singles as the Europeans regained the Ryder Cup with a 17.5-10.5 victory over the United States at Le Golf National in Paris, France.
Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard: Birdied the 72nd hole to beat Sean O'Hair by one stroke and claim his sixth Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. Sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the final green, duplicating his last-putt heroics from two previous years (2001, 15-foot birdie putt to beat Phil Mickelson; 2008, 24-foot birdie putt to beat Bart Bryant). Matched his largest comeback after 54 holes (five strokes) with his victory. He also came back from five strokes behind after 54 holes to win the 2000 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (Mark Brooks and Matt Gogel). Out of 66 career wins, it was his 19th coming from behind. Became the first player to win six Arnold Palmer Invitational titles. The only other players with multiple victories at the event are Tom Kite (1982 and 1989) and Loren Roberts (1994-95).
At a hearing on October 27, 2017, Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving. He received a year of probation, was fined $250, and ordered to undergo 50 hours of community service along with regular drug tests. He was not allowed to drink alcohol during the probation, and if he violated the probation he would be sentenced to 90 days in jail with an additional $500 fine.
PGA Championship: Despite not hitting a fairway until the 10th hole Sunday, made eight birdies and two bogeys to post a 6-under 64, tying the day's low round. Finished solo-second at 14-under 266, two strokes behind Brooks Koepka. The runner-up finished marked his 31st on the PGA TOUR and first time taking solo-second since the 2009 TOUR Championship. Was looking to tie Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen for most PGA Championship victories. A win would have marked his first major championship title since the 2008 U.S. Open, a span of 3,709 days.
In August 2016, Woods announced that he would be seeking a new golf equipment partner after the news of Nike's exit from the equipment industry. It was announced on January 25, 2017, that he would be signing a new club deal with TaylorMade. He added the 2016 M2 driver along with the 2017 M1 fairway woods, with irons to be custom made at a later date. He also added his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS, a club he used to win 13 of his 15 majors. Also, in late 2016, he would add Monster Energy as his primary bag sponsor, replacing MusclePharm.
At age 19, Woods participated in his first PGA Tour major, the 1995 Masters, and tied for 41st as the only amateur to make the cut; two years later, he would win the tournament by 12 strokes. At age 20 in 1996, he became the first golfer to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles and won the NCAA individual golf championship. In winning the silver medal as leading amateur at The Open Championship, he tied the record for an amateur aggregate score of 281. He left college after two years in order to turn professional in the golf industry. In 1996, Woods moved out of California, stating in 2013 that it was due to the state's high tax rate.
Ford Championship at Doral: Took over as World No. 1 for the first time since the week of Aug. 30, 2004 by defeating Phil Mickelson by a stroke at the Ford Championship at Doral. Paired with Mickelson in the final round for just the third time in his career, began the day two strokes behind. Caught up to Mickelson at the turn and took a two-stroke lead after an eagle on the par-5 12th hole. Mickelson birdied the next two and both bogeyed the 16th to remain tied with two holes to play. Birdied the 17th hole and when Mickelson's chip on No. 18 lipped out, earned the 42nd victory of his career.
World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship: Collected his first top-10 of the season with a T10 at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship. Marked his 13th career top-10 finish in the event and 34th in World Golf Championships events. Second-round 66 at Club de Golf Chapultepec highlighted his competitive debut in Mexico. Four-putted the par-5 15th green and three-putted the par-4 16th green in the third round, marking the first time in his career he had four-putted and three-putted in back-to-back holes, a stretch of 22,640 holes in stroke-play events before reaching the par-5 15th in the third round.
World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational: Finished T8 at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, which, coupled with his T3 at The Open Championship, gave him back-to-back top-10s in a season for first time since winning the 2009 BMW Championship and finishing runner-up at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. It also snapped a career-long streak of three starts in World Golf Championships events without a top-10. His 11 top-10s at the Bridgestone Invitational, seven of which are wins, is a tournament-high.
Woods continued to excel in 2007 and the first part of 2008. In April 2008, he underwent knee surgery and missed the next two months on the tour. Woods returned for the 2008 U.S. Open, where he struggled the first day but ultimately claimed a dramatic sudden death victory over Rocco Mediate that followed an 18-hole playoff, after which Mediate said, "This guy does things that are just not normal by any stretch of the imagination," and Kenny Perry added, "He beat everybody on one leg." Two days later, Woods announced that he would miss the remainder of the season due to additional knee surgery, and that his knee was more severely damaged than previously revealed, prompting even greater praise for his U.S. Open performance. Woods called it "my greatest ever championship." In Woods' absence, TV ratings for the remainder of the season suffered a huge decline from 2007.
Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard: Sank a 24-foot birdie putt on the final hole to beat Bart Bryant and win the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard by one stroke, extending his PGA TOUR winning streak to five tournament starts. The win was the 64th of his career, tying Ben Hogan at No. 3 on the PGA TOUR career victory list.
Woods was 15 years old and a student at Western High School in Anaheim when he became the youngest U.S. Junior Amateur champion; this was a record that stood until it was broken by Jim Liu in 2010. He was named 1991's Southern California Amateur Player of the Year (for the second consecutive year) and Golf Digest Junior Amateur Player of the Year. In 1992, he defended his title at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, becoming the tournament's first two-time winner. He also competed in his first PGA Tour event, the Nissan Los Angeles Open (he missed the 36-hole cut), and was named Golf Digest Amateur Player of the Year, Golf World Player of the Year, and Golfweek National Amateur of the Year.