Earned his 81st PGA TOUR victory and 15th major championship title at the Masters Tournament and qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs for the eighth time, advancing to the BMW Championship for the eighth time and finishing the season No. 42 in the FedExCup standings. In the Playoffs, withdrew from THE NORTHERN TRUST and finished T37 at the BMW Championship, failing to advance to the TOUR Championship to defend his title. Collected four top-10s and made nine cuts in 12 starts.
Woods had a much anticipated return to golf in 2009, when he performed well. His comeback included a spectacular performance at the 2009 Presidents Cup, but he failed to win a major, the first year since 2004 that he had not done so. After his marital infidelities came to light and received massive media coverage at the end of 2009 (see further details below), Woods announced in December that he would be taking an indefinite break from competitive golf. In February 2010, he delivered a televised apology for his behavior, saying "I was wrong and I was foolish." During this period, several companies ended their endorsement deals with Woods.
World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship: At 19-under 269, finished two strokes clear of Steve Stricker to win the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship and become the TOUR's first multiple winner of the season. His 76th career PGA TOUR win and 17th World Golf Championships victory came at age 37 years, 2 months, 10 days in his 297th (283rd professional) career TOUR start. After posting the most birdies of his career through 36 and 54 holes, finished with 27 for the week, just one shy of a career-high 28 at the 2007 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and 2006 Buick Open. Entered the final round with a four-stroke lead over Graeme McDowell, with his final-round, 1-under 71 leading to the victory (the 51st time in 55 attempts he has carried the third-round lead on to victory). Received putting tips from Stricker on Wednesday, with the two (Stricker finished No. 1) going on to finish as the top-two players in the field in Strokes Gained-Putting. Finished the week with a career-low 100 putts. The Cadillac Championship represents the fourth PGA TOUR event he has won seven times (World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Farmers Insurance Open). The Cadillac Championship win was his first World Golf Championships victory since the 2009 Bridgestone Invitational. From 1999-2009, he did not go an entire season without winning at least one World Golf Championships title.
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."
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In 1997, Woods and fellow golfer Arnold Palmer initiated a civil case against Bruce Matthews (the owner of Gotta Have It Golf, Inc.) and others in the effort to stop the unauthorized sale of their images and alleged signatures in the memorabilia market. Matthews and associated parties counterclaimed that Woods and his company, ETW Corporation, committed several acts including breach of contract, breach of implied duty of good faith, and violations of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Palmer also was named in the counter-suit, accused of violating the same licensing agreement in conjunction with his company Arnold Palmer Enterprises.
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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.
Tiger Woods Design has taken on two other courses, neither of which has materialized. In August 2007, Woods announced The Cliffs at High Carolina, a private course in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. After a groundbreaking in November 2008, the project suffered cash flow problems and suspended construction. A third course, in Punta Brava, Mexico, was announced in October 2008, but incurred delays due to issues with permits and an environmental impact study. Construction on the Punta Brava course has not yet begun.
THE PLAYERS Championship: Kept streak alive of 12 career made cuts in as many attempts at THE PLAYERS, with eighth-place finish, snapping a string of six consecutive appearances at the event without a top-10 finish (dating back to his win in 2001). The six consecutive events without notching a top-10 finish represents his longest streak at any single event in his career.
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