Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard: Carded a final-round, 2-under 70 on a Monday finish to defeat Justin Rose by two strokes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, winning the event for a PGA TOUR record-tying eighth time (Sam Snead at the Greater Greensboro Open). His 77th career PGA TOUR win moved him within five wins of all-time leader Snead's 82 victories. With wins at the Cadillac Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, he won in back-to-back starts for the first time since the 2009 Buick Open and World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. Supplanted Rory McIlroy for the No. 1 position in the Official World Golf Ranking. The last time he held the top spot was on October 30, 2010. Surpassed Ernie Els for most weeks in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking, at 789. Had a record run of 736 consecutive weeks in the top 10 from April 13, 1997, to May 15, 2011. Returned to the top 10 on March 25, 2012, where he has since remained. Of his eight Arnold Palmer Invitational wins, has entered the final round with at least a share of the 54-hole lead seven times. Made his 17th start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, with his lone missed cut coming as an amateur in his first start, in 1994. He has played in every event at Bay Hill since, with the exception of 2010.
Woods grew up in Orange County, California. He was a child prodigy who was introduced to golf before the age of two by his athletic father, Earl Woods. Earl was a single-digit handicap amateur golfer who also was one of the earliest African-American college baseball players at Kansas State University. Tiger's father was a member of the military and had playing privileges at the Navy golf course beside the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, which allowed Tiger to play there. Tiger also played at the par 3 Heartwell golf course in Long Beach, as well as some of the municipals in Long Beach.
Woods collaborated closely with TAG Heuer to develop the world's first professional golf watch, which was released in April 2005. The lightweight, titanium-construction watch, designed to be worn while playing the game, incorporates numerous innovative design features to accommodate golf play. It is capable of absorbing up to 5,000 Gs of shock, far in excess of the forces generated by a normal golf swing. In 2006, the TAG Heuer Professional Golf Watch won the prestigious iF product design award in the Leisure/Lifestyle category.
In October 2007, Gatorade announced that Woods would have his own brand of sports drink starting in March 2008. "Gatorade Tiger" was his first U.S. deal with a beverage company and his first licensing agreement. Although no figures were officially disclosed, Golfweek magazine reported that it was for five years and could pay him as much as $100 million. The company decided in early fall 2009 to discontinue the drink due to weak sales.
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. The TWLC opened in 2006 and features seven classrooms, extensive multi-media facilities and an outdoor golf teaching area. The center has since expanded to four additional campuses: two in Washington, D.C.; one in Philadelphia; and one in Stuart, Florida.
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 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.
PGA Championship: Won 12th major at the PGA Championship at Medinah CC, moving into solo second behind Jack Nicklaus (18) on the career majors list. First player to win two PGAs at the same course (1999 and 2006). Recorded four rounds in the 60s (69-68-65-68) for just the second time in a major (2000 Open Championship). Tied the tournament record which he set with Bob May in 2000 (18-under 270). Became the 29th player in major championship history to collect two major wins in the same year, this being his fourth time.
Buick Invitational: Won his first start of the season for the fourth time in 11 seasons on TOUR. Became the first player in Buick Invitational history to win the tournament four times (1999, 2003, 2005-06). Made an eight-foot birdie on 72nd hole to get into a three-man playoff with Jose Maria Olazabal and Nathan Green. Green was eliminated after first hole, Olazabal on the second.
Early in Woods' career, a small number of golf industry analysts expressed concern about his impact on the competitiveness of the game and the public appeal of professional golf. Sportswriter Bill Lyon of Knight Ridder asked in a column, "Isn't Tiger Woods actually bad for golf?" (though Lyon ultimately concluded that he was not). At first, some pundits feared that Woods would drive the spirit of competition out of the game of golf by making existing courses obsolete and relegating opponents to simply competing for second place each week.