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.
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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. 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. After returning to tournament play in August, Woods continued to falter, and his ranking gradually fell to a low of #58. 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.
On May 29, 2017, Woods was arrested near his Jupiter Island, Florida, home by the Jupiter Police Department at about 3:00 am. EDT for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He was asleep in his car, which was stationary in a traffic lane with its engine running. He later stated that he had taken prescription drugs and did not realize how they might interact together. On July 3, 2017, Woods tweeted that he had completed an out-of-state intensive program to tackle an unspecified issue. At his August 9, 2017 arraignment, Woods had his attorney Douglas Duncan submit a not guilty plea for him and agreed to take part in a first-time DUI offender program and attend another arraignment on October 25.
Earned his 81st PGA TOUR victory and 15th major championship title at the Masters Tournament and qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs for the eighth time, advancing to the BMW Championship for the eighth time and finishing the season No. 42 in the FedExCup standings. In the Playoffs, withdrew from THE NORTHERN TRUST and finished T37 at the BMW Championship, failing to advance to the TOUR Championship to defend his title. Collected four top-10s and made nine cuts in 12 starts.
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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.
On April 14, 2019, Woods won the Masters, which was his first major championship win in eleven years and his 15th major overall. He finished 13 under par to win by one stroke over Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka. At age 43, he became the second oldest golfer ever to win the Masters, after Jack Nicklaus who was 46 when he triumphed in 1986. In August 2019, Woods announced via social media that he underwent a knee surgery to repair minor cartilage damage and that he had an arthroscopic procedure during the Tour Championship. In his statement, Woods also confirmed that he was walking and intends on traveling and playing in Japan in October.
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Woods had a much anticipated return to golf in 2009, when he performed well. His comeback included a spectacular performance at the 2009 Presidents Cup, but he failed to win a major, the first year since 2004 that he had not done so. After his marital infidelities came to light and received massive media coverage at the end of 2009 (see further details below), Woods announced in December that he would be taking an indefinite break from competitive golf. In February 2010, he delivered a televised apology for his behavior, saying "I was wrong and I was foolish." During this period, several companies ended their endorsement deals with Woods.
The Open Championship: Earned 10th professional major title at The Open Championship at age 29 years, 6 months and 17 days in his 35th major as a professional. Posted rounds of 66-67-71-70–274 at St. Andrews to defeat nearest challenger Colin Montgomerie by five strokes. The youngest and quickest to win each of the four major championships twice. Jack Nicklaus was the first to accomplish the feat at 31 years, 1 month and 7 days when he won his second PGA in 1971 in his 37th major as a professional. Sixth player in The Open Championship history to win in wire-to-wire fashion–Ted Ray (1912), Bobby Jones (1927), Gene Sarazen (1932), Henry Cotton (1934) and Tom Weiskopf (1973).
World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship: Captured second consecutive World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship for 40th career PGA TOUR win. With six match victories, including a 3-and-2 win over Davis Love III in the 36-hole finale, has won 12 consecutive matches, and overall Accenture Match Play Championship record is 20-3.
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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.
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.