Wednesday, December 30, 2015 12:44 pm
Golf legend, Tiger Woods celebrates his 40th birthday today.
Though he has not eclipsed the 18 Grand slam record of Jack Nicklaus and 82 PGA tour victories of Sam Snead, he will mark the milestone, of a phenomenal career, proud of his achievements and legacy.
Hampered by back injury the past few years, Woods born in Cypress California, to an African American father and a Thai mother, he returns to competition in 2016, less of a dominant force that he was in his very active years as a Golf phenom.
Woods had won five PGA Tour events in 2013 and, though major silverware had eluded him since 2008, there seemed no reason why he could not add to his haul of 14 majors as long as he stayed healthy.
But everything changed in 2014 when, crippled by back pain that forced him out of a tournament in Florida, he underwent back surgery in the form of a microdiscectomy. He has never been the same since.
Two further back surgeries later, expectations these days about the former world number one are much more muted.
Instead of discussion about whether Woods will win four or five more majors, talk has turned to whether he will even win another regular tournament, let alone one of the big four.
No longer is winning the ‘be all and end all’. Having a healthy body is priority number one.
“Even if I don’t come back and I don’t play again, I still want to have a quality of life with my kids. I started to lose that with the other surgeries,” Woods told Time magazine in early December.
“(Not being able to play again is) not what I want to have happen and it’s not what I’m planning on having happen, but if it does, it does. I’ve reconciled myself to it.”
Following an outstanding amateur and two-year college golf career, Woods turned professional at age 20 in late summer 1996. By April 1997 he had already won his first major, the 1997 Masters Tournament in a record-breaking performance, winning the tournament by 12 strokes and pocketing $486,000. He first reached the “List of World Number One male golfers” in June 1997. Through the 2000s, Woods was the dominant force in golf, spending 264 weeks from August 1999 to September 2004 and 281 weeks from June 2005 to October 2010 as world number one.
From December 2009 to early April 2010, Woods took leave from professional golf to focus on his marriage after he admitted “Infidelity” but he and his wife Elin Nordegren eventually divorced. This was followed by a loss of golf form, and his ranking gradually fell to a low of No. 58 in November 2011.
He ended a career-high winless streak of 107 weeks when he captured theChevron World Challenge in December 2011. After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 25, 2013, he ascended to the No.1 ranking once again, holding the top spot until May 2014. Woods had back disc surgery in April 2014, and has struggled since to regain his dominant form. By March 29, 2015, Woods had fallen to #104, outside of the top 100 for the first time since the week prior to his first Tour title win in 1996.
Woods has broken numerous golf records. He has been awarded “PGA Player of the Year” record eleven times, the Byron Nelson Award for lowest adjusted scoring average a record eight times, and has the record of leading the money list in ten different seasons. He has won 14 professional Men’s major golf championships, the second highest of any player after Jack Nicklaus, who leads with 18. Woods also leads with 79 PGA Tour events, second all time behind Sam Snead, with 82 wins. He has more career major wins than any Golfer on the field today. He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, and the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour. Additionally, Woods is only the second golfer, after Jack Nicklaus, to have achieved a career Grand Slam three times. Woods has won 18 World Golf Championships, and won at least one of those events in each of the first 11 years after they began in 1999.
Woods and Rory McIlroy are the only golfers to win both The Silver Medal and The Gold Medal at The Open Championship.
Congratulations Tiger. Happy Birthday! The world wishes you a phenomenal success in 2016.
*With biographical reports by Wikipedia