Woods overcame difficulties with stuttering as a boy. This was not known until he wrote a letter to a boy who contemplated suicide. Woods wrote, "I know what it's like to be different and to sometimes not fit in. I also stuttered as a child and I would talk to my dog and he would sit there and listen until he fell asleep. I also took a class for two years to help me, and I finally learned to stop."
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.
Woods turned pro at age 20 in August 1996 and immediately signed advertising deals with Nike, Inc. and Titleist that ranked as the most lucrative endorsement contracts in golf history at that time. Woods was named Sports Illustrated's 1996 Sportsman of the Year and PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. On April 13, 1997, he won his first major, the Masters, in record-breaking fashion and became the tournament's youngest winner at age 21. Two months later, he set the record for the fastest ascent to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings. After a lackluster 1998, Woods finished the 1999 season with eight wins, including the PGA Championship, a feat not achieved since Johnny Miller did it in 1974.
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.
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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.
“I went to my first Olympic Games when it was in Los Angeles [in 1984]. So now to have the opportunity to be a part of the Olympics, because golf in my lifetime wasn’t a part of the Olympics, is an important aspect for us and the growth of the game. The game has become so global, and so reaching, that I think the Olympic Games is a great extension of that and I’d like to be a part of it.”
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.
The Open Championship: Captured his 11th major championship at The Open Championship, tying Walter Hagen for second on the all-time major professional championships list. Defeated Chris DiMarco by two strokes after holding both the second- and third-round leads. First back-to-back Open Championship winner since Tom Watson in 1982-83. Became 19th player to win The Open Championship three times. Posted his career-best opening 36-hole total in a major with his 12-under 132. Using a driver just once during the week due to hard and fast conditions, led the field in Driving Accuracy (85.7 percent) and was second in Greens in Regulation (80.6 percent).
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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).
Deutsche Bank Championship: Paired with Vijay Singh in final round of Deutsche Bank Championship to determine who would be World No. 1 at the end of play on Labor Day. Entered Monday's final round needing to make up a three-stroke deficit to Singh but both players shot 2-under 69 and he ended up with his 14th career runner-up finish and the No. 2 spot in the World for the first time since August 1999.
At a hearing on October 27, 2017, Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving. He received a year of probation, was fined $250, and ordered to undergo 50 hours of community service along with regular drug tests. He was not allowed to drink alcohol during the probation, and if he violated the probation he would be sentenced to 90 days in jail with an additional $500 fine.
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.