When Woods first joined the PGA Tour in 1996, his long drives had a large impact on the world of golf,[170] 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.[171] 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.[172] 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.

Farmers Insurance Open: In his season debut on the PGA TOUR, became the first player in TOUR history to win on the same course eight times with his Farmers Insurance Open victory at Torrey Pines GC. The win marked the sixth time on TOUR he has won in his season debut. His seventh Farmers Insurance Open win came five years after his U.S. Open win at Torrey Pines. At 14-under 274, won by four strokes over defending champion Brandt Snedeker and Josh Teater. He converted the 54-hole lead into victory for the 50th (of 54) time. With the win, the Farmers Insurance Open became the third event in which he has won seven times, the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and Arnold Palmer Invitational being the others. In the previous six years he has won this event, he has gone on to win at least four times in each of those years. His 75th TOUR victory is just seven shy of the all-time record of 82, held by Sam Snead.


Woods has spent the most consecutive and cumulative weeks atop the world rankings. He is one of five players (along with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus) to have won all four major championships in his career, known as the Career Grand Slam, and was the youngest to do so.[168] Woods is the only player to have won all four major championships in a row, accomplishing the feat in the 2000–2001 seasons.

The foundation operates the Tiger Woods Learning Center, a $50-million, 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) facility in Anaheim, California, providing college-access programs for underserved youth.[189][191][193] The TWLC opened in 2006 and features seven classrooms, extensive multi-media facilities and an outdoor golf teaching area.[189] The center has since expanded to four additional campuses: two in Washington, D.C.; one in Philadelphia; and one in Stuart, Florida.[193]
Earned his 80th PGA TOUR victory and first since 2013, winning the TOUR Championship for the third time in his career to move within two of Sam Snead's TOUR-best 82 victories. Finished the season No. 2 in the FedExCup, with runner-up finishes at the Valspar Championship and PGA Championship among his seven top-10s. Led the TOUR in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green (0.938) for the sixth consecutive season in which he played the minimum number of rounds. After originally being selected as a Captain's Assistant for the United States Ryder Cup team, was later selected as a captain's pick and played in the event for the eighth time.
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am: Searching for his first PGA TOUR win since the 2009 BMW Championship, carded a final-round 3-over 75 and was unable to match playing partner Phil Mickelson's stellar, 8-under 64 that led to victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Paired with Phil Mickelson for the 30th time in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event. The T15 finish came in his seventh start at the event and first since finishing T12 in 2002.
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AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am: Searching for his first PGA TOUR win since the 2009 BMW Championship, carded a final-round 3-over 75 and was unable to match playing partner Phil Mickelson's stellar, 8-under 64 that led to victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Paired with Phil Mickelson for the 30th time in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event. The T15 finish came in his seventh start at the event and first since finishing T12 in 2002.
The TGR Foundation was established in 1996 by Woods and his father Earl as the Tiger Woods Foundation, with the primary goal of promoting golf among inner-city children.[188] The foundation has conducted junior golf clinics across the country, and sponsors the Tiger Woods Foundation National Junior Golf Team in the Junior World Golf Championships.[189][190] As of December 2010, TWF employed approximately 55 people.[191][192]
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.
Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard: At the Arnold Palmer Invitational, earned his 72nd career PGA TOUR win, and his seventh Bay Hill tournament title, with a five-shot win over Graeme McDowell. After a second-round 65, he was tied with Charlie Wi for the 36-hole lead. Added a 1-under 71 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over McDowell into the final round. After a bogey at the second hole Sunday, he reeled off birdies on Nos. 3, 4, 6 and 8 to take control. Had eight pars and a bogey on the back nine.

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Deutsche Bank Championship: Paired with Vijay Singh in final round of Deutsche Bank Championship to determine who would be World No. 1 at the end of play on Labor Day. Entered Monday's final round needing to make up a three-stroke deficit to Singh but both players shot 2-under 69 and he ended up with his 14th career runner-up finish and the No. 2 spot in the World for the first time since August 1999.
In 2011, Woods' performance continued to suffer; this took its toll on his ranking. After falling to No. 7 in March, he rebounded to No. 5 with a strong showing at the 2011 Masters, where he tied for fourth place.[87] Due to leg injuries incurred at the Masters, he missed several summer stops on the PGA Tour. In July, he fired his longtime caddy Steve Williams (who was shocked by the dismissal), and replaced him on an interim basis with friend Bryon Bell until he hired Joe LaCava.[88] After returning to tournament play in August, Woods continued to falter, and his ranking gradually fell to a low of #58.[8] He rose to No. 50 in mid-November after a third-place finish at the Emirates Australian Open, and broke his winless streak with a victory at December's Chevron World Challenge.[8][89]
Won seven times en route to capturing the inaugural FedExCup, cruising through the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup with two wins and a T2 in three starts. Captured 13th career major championship (second all-time to Jack Nicklaus' 18) and finished the year with 61 official PGA TOUR victories, fifth all-time. Adjusted scoring average was 67.79, matching own record set in 2000. With 60 official rounds, won his seventh career Vardon Trophy and also captured the Byron Nelson Award.
On February 5, 2015, Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open after another back injury.[102] 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.[103] 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.[104] 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.[105] He finished tied for 18th at the Quicken Loans National on August 2.[106] 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.[107] 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.[108]
Woods has appeared on Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid athletes.[154][155] According to Golf Digest, Woods made $769,440,709 from 1996 to 2007,[156] and the magazine predicted that Woods would pass a billion dollars in earnings by 2010.[157] 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.[158] 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.[159] 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.[160] As of 2017, Woods was considered to be the highest-paid golfer in the world.[161]

PGA Championship: In head-to-head battle with fellow California junior star Bob May, won PGA in three-hole playoff. Became first player since Denny Shute in 1936-37 to defend PGA title. Both players played the final-round back nine in 31, and he birdied the final two holes to force the three-hole playoff with May. He went birdie-par-par to beat May. He finished 18-under, giving him a share of the PGA most under-par record with May.
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.
In November 2003, Woods became engaged to Elin Nordegren, a Swedish former model and daughter of former minister of migration Barbro Holmberg and radio journalist Thomas Nordegren.[206] They were introduced during The Open Championship in 2001 by Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik, who had employed her as an au pair. They married on October 5, 2004, at the Sandy Lane resort in Barbados, and lived at Isleworth, a community in Windermere, a suburb of Orlando, Florida.[207][208] In 2006, they purchased a $39-million estate in Jupiter Island, Florida, and began constructing a 10,000-square-foot home; Woods moved there in 2010 following the couple's divorce.[154][208]
Woods had back surgery on September 16, 2015. In late March 2016, he announced that he would miss the Masters while he recovered from the surgery;[109] he had also missed the 2014 Masters due to a back problem.[110] "I'm absolutely making progress, and I'm really happy with how far I've come," he explained in a statement. "But I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf."[111] However, he did attend the Masters Champions Dinner on April 5, 2016.[112] For the first time in his career, he missed all four majors in one year due to problems with his back. In October 2016, he told Charlie Rose on PBS that he still wanted to break Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major titles.[113] Woods underwent back surgery in December 2016 and spent the next 15 months off the Tour. He made his return to competitive golf in the Hero World Challenge.[114]

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.[58][59] Woods was named Sports Illustrated's 1996 Sportsman of the Year and PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.[60] 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.[61] Two months later, he set the record for the fastest ascent to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings.[62] 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.[63][64]
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.
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