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.
Deutsche Bank Championship: Shot a final-round 63 to equal lowest final round of his TOUR career at Deutsche Bank Championship. Course-record equaling front-nine 30 included a holed 9-iron at the par-4 6th hole for eagle. The T11 finish represented the third time in 2009 he finished outside the top-10 (T17 at Accenture Match Play and missed cut at The Open Championship).
Kultida (née Punsawad) is originally from Thailand, where Earl had met her when he was on a tour of duty there in 1968. She is of mixed Thai, Chinese, and Dutch ancestry. Earl was a retired lieutenant colonel and Vietnam War veteran who reported African American, Chinese, and Native American descent. Earl's mother Maude Carter was light skinned. Tiger describes his ethnic make-up as "Cablinasian" (a syllabic abbreviation he coined from Caucasian, Black, American Indian, and Asian).
Woods was raised as a Buddhist, and he actively practiced his faith from childhood until well into his adult, professional golf career. In a 2000 article, Woods was quoted as saying that he "believes in Buddhism... not every aspect, but most of it." He has attributed his deviations and infidelity to his losing track of Buddhism. He said, "Buddhism teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught."
Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard: Sank a 24-foot birdie putt on the final hole to beat Bart Bryant and win the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard by one stroke, extending his PGA TOUR winning streak to five tournament starts. The win was the 64th of his career, tying Ben Hogan at No. 3 on the PGA TOUR career victory list.
Disney Golf Classic: Attempting to make the largest final-round comeback of his TOUR career, he tied his persona, final-round scoring record with a 9-under 63 at the Disney Golf Classic. Started the final round six shots behind 54-hole leader Chris DiMarco and finished third, two strokes shy of Bob Burns. With only three bogeys on the week, he record only four bogeys in his last 148 holes, dating to the 15th h0le of the final round of the PGA Championship. During that stretch, averaged one bogey per 37 holes.
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".
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.