On December 2, following Us Weekly's previous day reporting of a purported mistress and subsequent release of a voicemail message allegedly left by Woods for the woman, Woods released a further statement. He admitted transgressions and apologized to "all of those who have supported [him] over the years", while reiterating his and his family's right to privacy. Over the next few days, more than a dozen women claimed in various media outlets to have had affairs with Woods. On December 11, he released a third statement admitting to infidelity and he apologized again. He also announced that he would be taking "an indefinite break from professional golf."
In 1997, Woods and fellow golfer Arnold Palmer initiated a civil case against Bruce Matthews (the owner of Gotta Have It Golf, Inc.) and others in the effort to stop the unauthorized sale of their images and alleged signatures in the memorabilia market. Matthews and associated parties counterclaimed that Woods and his company, ETW Corporation, committed several acts including breach of contract, breach of implied duty of good faith, and violations of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Palmer also was named in the counter-suit, accused of violating the same licensing agreement in conjunction with his company Arnold Palmer Enterprises.
Farmers Insurance Open: At the beginning of the year, committed to the Farmers Insurance Open, The Honda Classic and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour. Making his first start in an official PGA TOUR event for the first time since the 2015 Wyndham Championship (T10), opened the Farmers Insurance Open with a 4-over 76 on the South course, his highest score ever to start a year as a professional. Missed the 36-hole cut after a second-round 72 for a 4-over total.
Ford Championship at Doral: Took over as World No. 1 for the first time since the week of Aug. 30, 2004 by defeating Phil Mickelson by a stroke at the Ford Championship at Doral. Paired with Mickelson in the final round for just the third time in his career, began the day two strokes behind. Caught up to Mickelson at the turn and took a two-stroke lead after an eagle on the par-5 12th hole. Mickelson birdied the next two and both bogeyed the 16th to remain tied with two holes to play. Birdied the 17th hole and when Mickelson's chip on No. 18 lipped out, earned the 42nd victory of his career.
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.
In November 2009, the National Enquirer published a story claiming that Woods had had an extramarital affair with New York City nightclub manager Rachel Uchitel, who denied the claim. Two days later, around 2:30 a.m. on November 27, Woods was driving from his Florida mansion in his Cadillac Escalade SUV when he collided with a fire hydrant, a tree, and several hedges near his home. He was treated for minor facial lacerations and received a ticket for careless driving. Following intense media speculation about the cause of the accident, Woods released a statement on his website and took sole responsibility for the accident, calling it a "private matter" and crediting his wife for helping him from the car. On November 30, Woods announced that he would not be appearing at his own charity golf tournament (the Chevron World Challenge) or any other tournaments in 2009 due to his injuries.
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 March 11, 2018, he finished one-shot back and tied for second at the Valspar Championship in Florida, his first top-five finish on the PGA Tour since 2013. He then tied for sixth with a score of five under par at the 2018 Open Championship. At the last major of the year Woods finished second at the 2018 PGA Championship, two shots behind the winner Brooks Koepka. It was his best result in a major since 2009 (second at the 2009 PGA Championship) and moved up to 26th in the world rankings. His final round of 64 was his best ever final round in a major.
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.
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