Early in Woods' career, a small number of golf industry analysts expressed concern about his impact on the competitiveness of the game and the public appeal of professional golf. Sportswriter Bill Lyon of Knight Ridder asked in a column, "Isn't Tiger Woods actually bad for golf?" (though Lyon ultimately concluded that he was not).[162] At first, some pundits feared that Woods would drive the spirit of competition out of the game of golf by making existing courses obsolete and relegating opponents to simply competing for second place each week.

Chevron World Challenge: Lost in a playoff to Graeme McDowell at the Chevron World Challenge. It was the first time as a professional that he lost after holding a three-shot-or-more lead entering the final round. McDowell drained a 20 foot putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff and then made a 25 foot putt on the first playoff hole (No. 18) to capture the win. The world's No. 2-ranked player missed a 14-foot putt that would have extended the playoff. He has finished in the top two at this event in eight of his 10 starts.
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U.S. Open Championship: Earned his eighth major championship, with the sixth wire-to-wire victory in U.S. Open history. Win was his seventh in his last 11 major championship appearances. Finished 3-under and won by three strokes over runner-up Phil Mickelson, the only other player to finish at par or better for the championship. Tied Tom Watson for fifth all time, with eight professional major victories. Became the fifth player to win the first two majors of the season, joining Craig Wood (1941), Ben Hogan (1951 and 1953), Palmer (1960) and Nicklaus (1972). In receiving the $1-million paycheck, became the first player to surpass the $30-million mark in career earnings and the first to exceed $4 million in four consecutive seasons.

Earned his 80th PGA TOUR victory and first since 2013, winning the TOUR Championship for the third time in his career to move within two of Sam Snead's TOUR-best 82 victories. Finished the season No. 2 in the FedExCup, with runner-up finishes at the Valspar Championship and PGA Championship among his seven top-10s. Led the TOUR in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green (0.938) for the sixth consecutive season in which he played the minimum number of rounds. After originally being selected as a Captain's Assistant for the United States Ryder Cup team, was later selected as a captain's pick and played in the event for the eighth time.
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.
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