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.
the Memorial Tournament: Birdied the last two holes to shoot a final-round 65 and win the Memorial Tournament for the fourth time, beating Jim Furyk by one stroke. Trailed by four strokes entering the final round. Hit all 14 fairways in the final round and recorded his 20th come-from-behind victory in his 67th career victory. Chipped in for eagle from behind the green on the par-5 11th hole and was tied with Furyk, Jonathan Byrd and Davis Love III at 10-under with two holes remaining before his final surge.
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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 continued to excel in 2007 and the first part of 2008. In April 2008, he underwent knee surgery and missed the next two months on the tour. Woods returned for the 2008 U.S. Open, where he struggled the first day but ultimately claimed a dramatic sudden death victory over Rocco Mediate that followed an 18-hole playoff, after which Mediate said, "This guy does things that are just not normal by any stretch of the imagination," and Kenny Perry added, "He beat everybody on one leg." Two days later, Woods announced that he would miss the remainder of the season due to additional knee surgery, and that his knee was more severely damaged than previously revealed, prompting even greater praise for his U.S. Open performance. Woods called it "my greatest ever championship." In Woods' absence, TV ratings for the remainder of the season suffered a huge decline from 2007.
THE PLAYERS Championship: Kept streak alive of 12 career made cuts in as many attempts at THE PLAYERS, with eighth-place finish, snapping a string of six consecutive appearances at the event without a top-10 finish (dating back to his win in 2001). The six consecutive events without notching a top-10 finish represents his longest streak at any single event in his career.
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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.
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Tiger Woods Design has taken on two other courses, neither of which has materialized. In August 2007, Woods announced The Cliffs at High Carolina, a private course in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. After a groundbreaking in November 2008, the project suffered cash flow problems and suspended construction. A third course, in Punta Brava, Mexico, was announced in October 2008, but incurred delays due to issues with permits and an environmental impact study. Construction on the Punta Brava course has not yet begun.
Since his record-breaking win at the 1997 Masters, Woods has been the biggest name in golf and his presence in tournaments has drawn a huge fan following. Some sources have credited him for dramatically increasing prize money in golf, generating interest in new PGA tournament audiences, and for drawing the largest TV ratings in golf history.
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.
When Woods was 13 years old, he played in the 1989 Big I, which was his first major national junior tournament. In the final round, he was paired with pro John Daly, who was then relatively unknown. The event's format placed a professional with each group of juniors who had qualified. Daly birdied three of the last four holes to beat Woods by only one stroke. As a young teenager, Woods first met Jack Nicklaus in Los Angeles at the Bel-Air Country Club, when Nicklaus was performing a clinic for the club's members. Woods was part of the show, and he impressed Nicklaus and the crowd with his skills and potential. Earl Woods had researched in detail the career accomplishments of Nicklaus and had set his young son the goals of breaking those records.
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