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.
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.
The next decade of Woods' career was marked by comebacks from personal problems and injuries. He took a self-imposed hiatus from professional golf from December 2009 to early April 2010 in an attempt to resolve marital issues with his then-wife, Elin. Extramarital affairs with Woods had been alleged by several women, and the couple eventually divorced. Woods fell to number 58 in the world rankings in November 2011 before ascending again to the No.1 ranking between March 2013 and May 2014. However, injuries led him to undergo four back surgeries between 2014 and 2017. Woods competed in only one tournament between August 2015 and January 2018, and he dropped off the list of the world's top 1,000 golfers. On his return to regular competition, Woods made steady progress to the top of the game, winning his first tournament in five years at the Tour Championship in September 2018 and his first major in 11 years at the 2019 Masters.
Woods wrote a golf instruction column for Golf Digest magazine from 1997 to February 2011. In 2001 he wrote a best-selling golf instruction book, How I Play Golf, which had the largest print run of any golf book for its first edition, 1.5 million copies. In March 2017, he published a memoir, The 1997 Masters: My Story, co-authored by Lorne Rubenstein, which focuses on his first Masters win.
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.
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Surgery: Announced on Wednesday, June 18, two days after winning the U.S. Open, that he would have reconstructive surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and miss the remainder of the 2008 season. Also announced that pain in his leg during the U.S. Open resulted from a double stress fracture to his left tibia, which he suffered while rehabilitating the knee. Surgery was performed on Tuesday, June 24 in Park City, Utah, by Dr. Thomas D. Rosenberg and Dr. Vernon J. Cooley, who did arthroscopic surgery on the same knee in April.
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".
Woods began his 2012 season with two tournaments (the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am) where he started off well but struggled on the final rounds. Following the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where he was knocked out in the second round by missing a 5-foot putt, Woods revised his putting technique and tied for second at the Honda Classic, with the lowest final round score in his PGA Tour career. After a short time off due to another leg injury, Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his first win on the PGA Tour since the BMW Championship in September 2009. Following several dismal performances, Woods notched his 73rd PGA Tour win at the Memorial Tournament in June, tying Jack Nicklaus in second place for most PGA Tour victories; a month later, Woods surpassed Nicklaus with a win at the AT&T National, to trail only Sam Snead, who accumulated 82 PGA tour wins.
Bay Hill Invitational presented by Cooper Tires: Earned his third consecutive victory at the Bay Hill Invitational, the first player to win three different TOUR events (the Memorial Tournament from 1999 to 2001) and the World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational (also 1999 to 2001) three consecutive times. Entered the final round with a one-shot lead over Len Mattiace and carded a 3-under 69 to win by four over runner-up Michael Campbell. With his 30th career PGA TOUR victory, he surpassed Nicklaus for most wins before age 30.
THE PLAYERS Championship: Withdrew on the seventh hole in the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship with a lingering neck injury that caused tingling in the fingers in his right hand. Shot 70-71-71 in first three rounds. It was the third time he has withdrawn from a TOUR event as a professional (2006 Northern Trust Open, 1998 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am). Also withdrew from the 1995 U.S. Open as an amateur.
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.
One thing that I thought would be hokey, but has actually been impressive is the guests who come on the channel. I feel that "Coach's" (Mike's) students are really insightful, and like how most individuals will talk about their pre-shot thought process, and even get into course management. Whether it's kids that he coaches on his High School team, or undergrads from surrounding areas, they all seem to know what they're talking about. And, both Marko and Mike seem to be pretty knowledgeable, too.
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.
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.
THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola: Entered the TOUR Championship No. 1 in the FedExCup standings and romped for his seventh victory of the season by eight over Mark Calcavecchia and Zach Johnson with rounds of 64-63-64-66–257 and captured the first FedExCup. Season earnings were a career-best $10,867,052. First player to win the TOUR Championship multiple times.
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.