From mid-1993 (while he was still an amateur) until 2004, Woods worked almost exclusively with leading swing coach Butch Harmon. From mid-1997, Harmon and Woods fashioned a major redevelopment of Woods' full swing, achieving greater consistency, better distance control, and better kinesiology. The changes began to pay off in 1999. Woods and Harmon eventually parted ways. From March 2004 to 2010, Woods was coached by Hank Haney, who worked on flattening his swing plane. Woods continued to win tournaments with Haney, but his driving accuracy dropped significantly. Haney resigned under questionable circumstances in May 2010 and was replaced by Sean Foley.
In November 2009, the National Enquirer published a story claiming that Woods had had an extramarital affair with New York City nightclub manager Rachel Uchitel, who denied the claim. Two days later, around 2:30 a.m. on November 27, Woods was driving from his Florida mansion in his Cadillac Escalade SUV when he collided with a fire hydrant, a tree, and several hedges near his home. He was treated for minor facial lacerations and received a ticket for careless driving. Following intense media speculation about the cause of the accident, Woods released a statement on his website and took sole responsibility for the accident, calling it a "private matter" and crediting his wife for helping him from the car. On November 30, Woods announced that he would not be appearing at his own charity golf tournament (the Chevron World Challenge) or any other tournaments in 2009 due to his injuries.
Buick Open: Shot a final-round 69 and coasted to a three-shot victory with a 20-under 268 at the Buick Open for the 69th PGA TOUR title of his career. Improved to 36-1 when he had the outright lead after 54 holes. The win was his fourth of the season in just 11 starts since returning from knee surgery and the 69th of his career. He also claimed 500 FedExCup points and moved to the top of the standings. Reached victory No. 69 at the age of 33 years and seven months–almost seven years faster than Jack Nicklaus and eight years sooner than Sam Snead. Shot a 71 in the first round and came back with the best five-hole start of his career–beginning 6-under in the second round–en route to a 9-under 63 for his best score in relation to par in four years. Shot a 65 in the third round and held a one-shot lead going into Sunday.
PGA Championship: Finished second at the PGA Championship, and for the first time in his career (was 14-0), lost a third-round lead in a major to winner Y.E. Yang at Hazeltine National. Led after each of the first three rounds, including by two entering the final round, but Yang chipped in for eagle on the 14th hole to take the lead and then made birdie on the 18th hole to shoot 70 and win by three. His final-round 75 was his worst score in the final round of a major when he was in the last group.
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP: Won his 82nd PGA TOUR title at The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP, tying Sam Snead for the most wins in PGA TOUR history. Improved to 44-for-46 (95.6%) in his career with the outright 54-hole lead and 25-for-25 when leading by three shots or more after 54 holes. Marked his 14th career victory when leading/co-leading after each round. Played the par-3s in 9-under (field-best), reaching that mark for the first time in his career. Became the first player in the ShotLink era (since 2003) to bogey each of the first three holes of a tournament and go on to win. Opened with three rounds of 66 or better for the fourth time in his career (won all four).
THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola: Entered the TOUR Championship No. 1 in the FedExCup standings and romped for his seventh victory of the season by eight over Mark Calcavecchia and Zach Johnson with rounds of 64-63-64-66–257 and captured the first FedExCup. Season earnings were a career-best $10,867,052. First player to win the TOUR Championship multiple times.
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.
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.
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.
the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance: Moved into a tie with Jack Nicklaus for second on the all-time PGA TOUR victories list, with 73, after his two-shot victory at the Memorial Tournament. Trails only Sam Snead's 82 wins after a two-shot victory over Andres Romero and Rory Sabbatini at Muirfield Village GC. Posted his 73rd career victory at age 36 years, 5 months, 4 days, nearly 10 years younger than Nicklaus when he won his 73rd tournament (46 years, 2 months, 23 days) and almost seven years younger than Snead when he posted his 73rd victory (43 years, 9 days). Collected his fifth career victory at the Memorial Tournament and won in come-from-behind fashion for the 21st time in his career after entering the final round four shots off the 54-hole pace. Trailed Sabbatini by two shots standing on the 15th tee but played his final four holes in 3-under, making birdie on Nos. 15, 16 and 18. Holed a flop shot from 49 feet, 10 inches from behind the green at the par-3 16th to tie Sabbatini for the lead at 8-under. Won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial Tournament in the same year for the fourth time (2000-01, 2009 and 2012). Posted the 12th victory of his career in Ohio and won multiple tournaments in a season for the 13th time in his career.
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