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.
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.
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.
Woods turned pro at age 20 in August 1996 and immediately signed advertising deals with Nike, Inc. and Titleist that ranked as the most lucrative endorsement contracts in golf history at that time. Woods was named Sports Illustrated's 1996 Sportsman of the Year and PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. On April 13, 1997, he won his first major, the Masters, in record-breaking fashion and became the tournament's youngest winner at age 21. Two months later, he set the record for the fastest ascent to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings. After a lackluster 1998, Woods finished the 1999 season with eight wins, including the PGA Championship, a feat not achieved since Johnny Miller did it in 1974.
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.