U.S. Open Championship: In his first start two months after surgery, parred the first sudden-death hole to beat Rocco Mediate and win the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines GC. Prevailed after he birdied the par-5 18th hole on Monday afternoon to complete an even-par 71 in an 18-hole playoff and tie Mediate to force sudden death, beginning on the par-4 seventh hole. Hit the green in regulation and two-putted on the dogleg right while Mediate, who was aiming to become the oldest U.S. Open champion at age 45, drove into a fairway bunker and then missed a 20-foot par putt. Sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force the 18-hole playoff with Mediate at 1-under-par 283. The victory was his third in the U.S. Open, his 14th major championship and the 65th of his TOUR career, third alone behind Sam Snead (82) and Jack Nicklaus (73). Improved to 14-for-14 in majors when holding the third-round lead. The win was also his seventh at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif. (six Buick Invitationals and one U.S. Open), the most in TOUR history on one course.
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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.
Woods was 15 years old and a student at Western High School in Anaheim when he became the youngest U.S. Junior Amateur champion; this was a record that stood until it was broken by Jim Liu in 2010. He was named 1991's Southern California Amateur Player of the Year (for the second consecutive year) and Golf Digest Junior Amateur Player of the Year. In 1992, he defended his title at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, becoming the tournament's first two-time winner. He also competed in his first PGA Tour event, the Nissan Los Angeles Open (he missed the 36-hole cut), and was named Golf Digest Amateur Player of the Year, Golf World Player of the Year, and Golfweek National Amateur of the Year.
At a hearing on October 27, 2017, Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving. He received a year of probation, was fined $250, and ordered to undergo 50 hours of community service along with regular drug tests. He was not allowed to drink alcohol during the probation, and if he violated the probation he would be sentenced to 90 days in jail with an additional $500 fine.
Wells Fargo Championship: With his best score of the week a 3-under 68 in the third round, finished T55 in his first start at the Wells Fargo Championship since 2012. Failed to record a birdie in the final round (3-over 74). It was the 11th time in his career as a professional where he failed to post a birdie in a round, and the first time since the final round of the 2014 World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship (at Doral).
During the first decade of his professional career, Woods was the world's most marketable athlete. Shortly after his 21st birthday in 1996, he signed endorsement deals with numerous companies, including General Motors, Titleist, General Mills, American Express, Accenture, and Nike, Inc. In 2000, he signed a 5-year, $105 million contract extension with Nike, which was the largest endorsement package signed by a professional athlete at that time. Woods' endorsement has been credited with playing a significant role in taking the Nike Golf brand from a "start-up" golf company earlier in the previous decade to becoming the leading golf apparel company in the world and a major player in the equipment and golf ball market. Nike Golf is one of the fastest growing brands in the sport, with an estimated $600 million in sales. Woods has been described as the "ultimate endorser" for Nike Golf, frequently seen wearing Nike gear during tournaments, and even in advertisements for other products. Woods receives a percentage from the sales of Nike Golf apparel, footwear, golf equipment, golf balls, and has a building named after him at Nike's headquarters campus in Beaverton, Oregon.
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The year 2013 would bring a return of Woods' dominating play. In January, he won the Farmers Insurance Open by four shots for his 75th PGA Tour win. It was the seventh time he had won the event. In March, he won the WGC-Cadillac Championship, also for the seventh time, giving him his 17th WGC title and first since 2009. Two weeks later, he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, winning the event for a record-tying 8th time. The win moved him back to the top of the world rankings. To commemorate that achievement, Nike was quick to launch an ad with the tagline "winning takes care of everything".
Hero World Challenge: Hero World Challenge host finished T9 and 10 strokes behind champion Rickie Fowler. Marked his first appearance in competition since withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on February 2, 2017. Week included playing in the first and final round with reigning FedExCup champion and PGA TOUR Player of the Year Justin Thomas, with both players posting scores of 69-68 in those rounds.
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.
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.
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.
Surpassed Greg Norman for most weeks at No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking following PGA Championship with his 332nd combined week at the top. Consecutive weeks reign at No. 1 ended at 264, as Vijay Singh took over world No. 1 on Sept. 6, the week following the Deutsche Bank Championship. Entered 2005 season with streak of 133 consecutive made cuts intact.
Despite his power advantage, Woods has always focused on developing an excellent all-around game. Although in recent years[when?] he has typically been near the bottom of the Tour rankings in driving accuracy, his iron play is generally accurate, his recovery and bunker play is very strong, and his putting (especially under pressure) is possibly his greatest asset. He is largely responsible for a shift to higher standards of athleticism amongst professional golfers, and is known for utilizing more hours of practice than most.
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.
Disney Golf Classic: Attempting to make the largest final-round comeback of his TOUR career, he tied his persona, final-round scoring record with a 9-under 63 at the Disney Golf Classic. Started the final round six shots behind 54-hole leader Chris DiMarco and finished third, two strokes shy of Bob Burns. With only three bogeys on the week, he record only four bogeys in his last 148 holes, dating to the 15th h0le of the final round of the PGA Championship. During that stretch, averaged one bogey per 37 holes.
Woods has appeared on Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid athletes. According to Golf Digest, Woods made $769,440,709 from 1996 to 2007, and the magazine predicted that Woods would pass a billion dollars in earnings by 2010. In 2009, Forbes confirmed that Woods was indeed the world's first professional athlete to earn over a billion dollars in his career, after accounting for the $10 million bonus Woods received for the FedEx Cup title. The same year, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $600 million, making him the second richest person of color in the United States, behind only Oprah Winfrey. In 2015, Woods ranked ninth in Forbes' list of world's highest-paid athletes, being the top among Asian Americans or the fourth among African Americans. As of 2017, Woods was considered to be the highest-paid golfer in the world.
Fluff Cowan served as Woods' caddie from the start of his professional career until Woods dismissed him in March 1999. He was replaced by Steve Williams, who became a close friend of Woods and is often credited with helping him with key shots and putts. In June 2011, Woods dismissed Williams after he caddied for Adam Scott in the U.S. Open and replaced him with friend Bryon Bell on an interim basis. Joe LaCava, a former caddie of both Fred Couples and Dustin Johnson, was hired by Woods shortly after and has remained Woods' caddie since then.
On February 5, 2015, Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open after another back injury. Woods stated on his website that it was unrelated to his previous surgery and he would take a break from golf until his back healed. He returned for the Masters, finishing in a tie for 17th. In the final round, Woods injured his wrist after his club hit a tree root. He later stated that a bone popped out of his wrist, but he adjusted it back into place and finished the round. Woods then missed the cut at the 2015 U.S. Open and Open Championship, the first time Woods missed the cut at consecutive majors, finishing near the bottom of the leaderboard both times. He finished tied for 18th at the Quicken Loans National on August 2. In late August 2015, Woods played quite well at the Wyndham Championship finishing the tournament at 13-under, only four strokes behind the winner, and tied for 10th place. Woods offered only a brief comment on the speculation that he was still recovering from back surgery, saying it was "just my hip" but offering no specifics.