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."
Set or tied 27 TOUR records. Won three consecutive majors (U.S. and The Open Championships, PGA Championship) and career Grand Slam and totaled nine TOUR victories. Non-adjusted scoring average of 68.17 best in golf history, surpassing Byron Nelson's 68.33 unofficial mark of 1945. Finished the year with 47 consecutive rounds of par or better and completing all 20 events started under par. Won TOUR player of the year honors. Joined Ben Hogan (1953) as the only men to win three professional majors in one season. Was 53-under in four majors, next-best mark was 18-under by Ernie Els. Nine TOUR victories most in one season since Sam Snead won 11 in 1950. Season-opening victories at Mercedes Championship and AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am gave him wins in six consecutive starts, most since Hogan in 1948. Beat Els in a playoff at Mercedes, then came from seven strokes back with seven holes to play at Pebble Beach, keyed by an eagle-birdie-par-birdie finish, for a 64 and a two-stroke win. Finished T2 at Buick Invitational.
TOUR Championship: Claimed his 80th PGA TOUR title (second most behind Sam Snead's 82) with a two-stroke victory over Billy Horschel for his third-career TOUR Championship title (1999, 2007, 2018). Prior to his win at East Lake, it had been 1,876 days since he last won on the PGA TOUR (2013 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational). Moved from No. 20 to No. 2 in the FedExCup standings, finishing 41 points behind Justin Rose (T4) to become the fourth winner of the TOUR Championship who did not claim the FedExCup. Shared the first-round lead with Rickie Fowler (5-under 65) and the second-round lead with Rose (7-under 133) before moving to a three-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy following a third-round 5-under 65. Following a closing 1-over 71, improved to 54/58 when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead on the PGA TOUR, including a 43/45 mark with the outright lead. Bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16 made things interesting coming down the stretch, but clutch pars on the final two holes sealed the victory. His 80th TOUR win came in his 346th start at the age of 42 years, 8 months and 24 days. By comparison, Snead was 47 when he won his 80th title. The victory was his fourth FedExCup Playoffs tournament title (2007 BMW Championship, 2007 TOUR Championship, 2009 BMW Championship, 2018 TOUR Championship. Ranked No. 2 in Strokes Gained: Putting for the week, making over 100 feet of putts each of the first three rounds and totaling 386'5" for the week (112'7"/R1, 101'5"/R2, 112'8"/R3, 59'9"/R4). Last posted his first three rounds in the 60s in a PGA TOUR event at the 2015 Wyndham Championship, but final-round 71 kept him from posting all four rounds in the 60s for the first time since THE NORTHERN TRUST 2013. Marked his 15th appearance in the TOUR Championship (first since 2013), with nine top-10 showings at the event, including three wins and four runner-up finishes.
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Woods returned to competition in April at the 2010 Masters, where he finished tied for fourth place. He followed the Masters with poor showings at the Quail Hollow Championship and the Players Championship, where he withdrew in the fourth round, citing injury. Shortly afterward, Hank Haney, Woods' coach since 2003, resigned the position. In August, Woods hired Sean Foley as Haney's replacement. The rest of the season went badly for Woods, who failed to win a single event for the first time since turning professional, while nevertheless finishing the season ranked No. 2 in the world.
Deutsche Bank Championship: Shot a final-round 63 to equal lowest final round of his TOUR career at Deutsche Bank Championship. Course-record equaling front-nine 30 included a holed 9-iron at the par-4 6th hole for eagle. The T11 finish represented the third time in 2009 he finished outside the top-10 (T17 at Accenture Match Play and missed cut at The Open Championship).
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Masters Tournament: Closed with a 5-under 67 to finish T4 at the Masters Tournament, the best closing round of his career at Augusta National. It still left him four strokes behind Charl Schwartzel and in search of his first come-from-behind win in a major championship. Entered the final round seven strokes behind Rory McIlroy, but a front-nine, 5-under 31–highlighted by a birdie-birdie-eagle stretch, beginning on No. 6 had him tied for the lead as he made the turn at Augusta National. Closed with an even-par 36 on the back nine to finish T4, his 10th top-five finish at the Masters, moving him out of a tie for second with Mickelson, Ben Hogan, Tom Kite, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead and Tom Watson, and trailing only Jack Nicklaus' 15. Since winning his last green jacket, in 2005, he has finished T3, T2, second, T6, T4 and T4.
When Woods first joined the PGA Tour in 1996, his long drives had a large impact on the world of golf, but he did not upgrade his equipment in the following years. He insisted upon the use of True Temper Dynamic Gold steel-shafted clubs and smaller steel clubheads that promoted accuracy over distance. Many opponents caught up to him, and Phil Mickelson even made a joke in 2003 about Woods using "inferior equipment", which did not sit well with Nike, Titleist or Woods. During 2004, Woods finally upgraded his driver technology to a larger clubhead and graphite shaft, which, coupled with his clubhead speed, again made him one of the tour's longest players off the tee.
Following an outstanding junior, college, and amateur golf career, Woods turned professional in 1996 at the age of 20. By the end of April 1997, he had won three PGA Tour events in addition to his first major, the 1997 Masters, which he won by 12 strokes in a record-breaking performance. He reached number one in the world rankings for the first time in June 1997, less than a year after turning pro. Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, Woods was the dominant force in golf. He was the top-ranked golfer in the world from August 1999 to September 2004 (264 weeks) and again from June 2005 to October 2010 (281 weeks). During this time, he won 13 of golf's major championships.
World Golf Championships-CA Championship: Logged 56th career TOUR victory and 13th official World Golf Championships title in 24th start at the CA Championship at Doral Golf Resort & Spa. Held the 36- and 54-hole leads before closing out a two-stroke win over Brett Wetterich, marking the 39th time winning (in 42 events) when holding at least a share of the third-round lead.
Woods began dominantly in 2006, winning his first two PGA tournaments but failing to capture his fifth Masters championship in April. Following the death of his father in May, Woods took some time off from the tour and appeared rusty upon his return at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, where he missed the cut. However, he quickly returned to form and ended the year by winning six consecutive tour events. At the season's close, Woods had 54 total wins that included 12 majors; he had broken the tour records for both total wins and total majors wins over eleven seasons.
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.