Tiger Woods’ incredible golf career, from the two-year-old prodigy to his epic comeback in the 2019 Masters victory, was in jeopardy on Tuesday after injuries sustained in a serious solo car crash.
The 45-year-old American, one of the world’s most famous athletes for a quarter of a century, has undergone surgery for multiple leg injuries as a result of the morning wreck near Los Angeles.
It could spell the end of a groundbreaking career that saw Woods win 15 major titles, three short of the all-time record set by Jack Nicklaus and 82 PGA American crowns, tied with Sam Snead for the mark of all the time.
Woods has faced many previous issues off the course including multiple back and knee surgeries, the revelation in 2009 of multiple cases that led to an emotional public apology and divorce from his wife Elin Nordegren, as well as ” to a reckless driving incident in 2017.
Woods was recovering from back surgery in 2017 when he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, his rant gaining worldwide attention. He said he did not realize how the prescription drugs he was taking might interact and subsequently pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
In the 1990s, Woods positioned himself alongside his pal and NBA star Michael Jordan as two of the world’s most iconic sports stars and richest pitchmen, his fame reaching beyond golf or sports enthusiasts. .
Woods wowed audiences with his talent as well as his winning charm and personality, with audiences worldwide inviting him to their home on television every week, while keeping details about his life private.
Woods was the first black winner of the Masters in 1997, hugging his father Earl after his historic victory in record mode.
In 2019, Woods would come off the same green at Augusta National after winning his first major title since 2008 and kissing his kids, Sam and Charlie, in a bookend moment to signal a full return from back surgery Woods hoped to get him. a normal life . It also gave him another shot at golfing glory.
Woods, who spent a record 683 weeks as world number one, is 50th in this week’s world rankings.
At two, Woods charmed on a TV show with his talent for putting on. The child prodigy was a three-time American amateur winner before turning pro in 1996 with endorsement deals and a “Hello world” message.
Woods won the Las Vegas Invitational in October 1996 to secure his place on the PGA Tour and six months later he earned a 12 stroke victory for the ages at 21 at Augusta National for a green jacket and the start of the ‘Tiger-mania’ interest that surpassed anything golf had ever seen.
Woods had brought a youthful excitement and emphasis on fitness unseen among golfers, delivering an imaginative shot and great driving game that placed him among the greatest champions the sport has ever known.
– ‘Tiger Slam’ in 2000-01 –
He won one of golf’s greatest achievements in 2000 and early 2001 with the “Tiger Slam” – winning four consecutive majors.
Woods won the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach by 15 strokes, the biggest major blowout in history, then won the Open Championship at St. Andrews to end the Grand Slam career. He edged Bob May in the 2000 PGA playoffs and won the 2001 Masters to own all four major titles at once, an unprecedented feat.
Woods won the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines on a broken leg, beating Rocco Mediate in the 18-hole playoffs, and won six titles in 2019, but lost a major for the first time leading after 54 holes in the 2009 PGA Championship.
Three months later, after a low-speed crash near his home, details of Woods’ extra-marital affairs became public, leading to an apology and divorce and layoff until the Masters of 2010, where he shared the fourth and began to rebuild his career. .
Woods would not win until 2012 at Bay Hill. He won three titles in 2012 and five in 2013, but back pain began to limit him and it would take him four surgeries and five years before Woods won the 2018 Circuit Championship again, setting the stage for his victory. at the 2019 Masters.
With his most recent triumph at the 2019 Zozo Championship in Japan, Woods tied the late Snead for the all-time American PGA winning record.
After capturing the triumphant USA team of 2019 at the Presidents Cup in Australia, Woods shared the ninth at Torrey Pines, his best result of 2020.
In last year’s majors, Woods finished 37th in the PGA Championship, missed the cup at the US Open and shared 38th at the Masters last November on his last tour.
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