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.
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.
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.
World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship: Defeated Stewart Cink 8 and 7 in the 36-hole championship match to capture the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship for the third time. The victory was his fourth straight on the PGA TOUR and the 63rd of his career, passing Arnold Palmer for fourth all-time in career PGA TOUR wins, one behind Ben Hogan.
U.S. Open Championship: Earned his eighth major championship, with the sixth wire-to-wire victory in U.S. Open history. Win was his seventh in his last 11 major championship appearances. Finished 3-under and won by three strokes over runner-up Phil Mickelson, the only other player to finish at par or better for the championship. Tied Tom Watson for fifth all time, with eight professional major victories. Became the fifth player to win the first two majors of the season, joining Craig Wood (1941), Ben Hogan (1951 and 1953), Palmer (1960) and Nicklaus (1972). In receiving the $1-million paycheck, became the first player to surpass the $30-million mark in career earnings and the first to exceed $4 million in four consecutive seasons.
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.
World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship: At 19-under 269, finished two strokes clear of Steve Stricker to win the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship and become the TOUR's first multiple winner of the season. His 76th career PGA TOUR win and 17th World Golf Championships victory came at age 37 years, 2 months, 10 days in his 297th (283rd professional) career TOUR start. After posting the most birdies of his career through 36 and 54 holes, finished with 27 for the week, just one shy of a career-high 28 at the 2007 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and 2006 Buick Open. Entered the final round with a four-stroke lead over Graeme McDowell, with his final-round, 1-under 71 leading to the victory (the 51st time in 55 attempts he has carried the third-round lead on to victory). Received putting tips from Stricker on Wednesday, with the two (Stricker finished No. 1) going on to finish as the top-two players in the field in Strokes Gained-Putting. Finished the week with a career-low 100 putts. The Cadillac Championship represents the fourth PGA TOUR event he has won seven times (World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Farmers Insurance Open). The Cadillac Championship win was his first World Golf Championships victory since the 2009 Bridgestone Invitational. From 1999-2009, he did not go an entire season without winning at least one World Golf Championships title.
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World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play: In his first start at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play since 2013, and first start in the state of Texas since 2005, advanced to the Quarterfinals to finish T5 in the event. Playing at Austin Country Club for the first time in his career, earned two points to advance out of his group after defeating Aaron Wise and Patrick Cantlay. Suffered a 2-and-1 loss to Brandt Snedeker. Went head-to-head with Rory McIlroy for the first time with their match up in the Round of 16. Defeated McIlroy, 2 and 1, before falling to Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard, 1-up.
During the 2013 Masters, Woods faced disqualification after unwittingly admitting in a post-round interview with ESPN that he had taken an illegal drop on the par-5 15th hole when his third shot had bounced off the pin and into the water. After further review of television footage, Woods was assessed a two-stroke penalty for the drop but was not disqualified. He finished tied for fourth in the event. Woods won The Players Championship in May 2013, his second career win at the event, notching his fourth win of the 2013 season. It was the quickest he had gotten to four wins in any season in his professional career.
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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.
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.
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.