At the age of 16, a young high school sophomore by the name of Tiger Woods made his first PGA event appearance at the 1992 Nissan Los Angeles Open. Going on record as the youngest individual to compete in an official tour event, it was known from his first swing that he would be unlike any other golfer.
Over the course of his career, Woods secured himself on a list of names who have taken over a sport during their primes. Including his own name, the only other dominant athletes during their primes happen to be Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, and possibly Floyd Mayweather. From only 1999-2003, Woods secured 32 victories on the PGA Tour. To put that into retrospect on how spectacular that really is, you need to understand that no other individual won more than eight times during that same span.
His talent would be noticed by the largest of corporations as well, as Woods signed record-breaking endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, and many more. Over time, Woods would watch his net worth skyrocket, as he is currently valued at $740 million. The next highest golfer? That would be Arnold Palmer, who is valued at a total of $700 million.
In November of 2009, Woods’ life started to turn upside down. After being caught of cheating on his then-wife Elin Nordegren, Woods bolted out of his mansion in Florida, which lead to a serious car accident. Due to the incident, Woods was unable to escape from the media, which lead to on-the-course distractions.
Making his recovery and eventual return to the PGA, the biggest question was whether Woods, who had 14 major event victories, could surpass Jack Nicklaus, who had 18 through his career. Having won his last event at the U.S. Open in 2008, Woods has come across as incapable of success throughout the past nine years. At one point, Woods would face an even bigger question, which was if he would ever play in the PGA again.
Since his win in 2008, Woods has undergone four different surgeries, in which three of those were for his back. Most recently, Woods underwent a surgery in April for pain in his leg and back. Woods has this to say on the matter:
“The surgery went well, and I’m optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain,” Woods said via his website. “When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long.”
Here we sit, as Woods was arrested recently in Jupiter, Florida for a DWI. The era of Woods has been over for some time now, but for those hopeful that Woods could return to his form, they should close the books on that ideology. There are much younger and more talented golfers than Woods, who is currently at 41-years old.
While we can go and remember all of the tragedies that were associated with Woods, it’s important to note that whether you like it or not, Woods will always be on the Mount Rushmore of PGA greats.