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A Look at Tiger Woods’ Tumultuous Career and Life

Can Tiger Woods win another Masters Tournament? That question seemed to be on the mind of every golf aficionado as the famous player prepared to tee off in the 2019 Master Tournament, which began on April 8 at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

On Sunday, April 14, Tiger answered that question with a resounding “Yes,” taking home his first Masters win in more than a decade.

Woods changed how the game of golf is played as he enjoyed a string of jaw-dropping victories from the mid-’90s to the early aughts. But it’s also true that the last decade or so has been a rough one for the 14-time major winner. Some very public scandals have hampered the golfer’s game, and thus, have also affected his earnings. Take a look at the highs and lows that have impacted the star athlete’s career and wallet.

Tiger Woods Net Worth: $800 Million

Tiger Woods is worth $800 million as of April 2019, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Woods has earned over $116 million throughout the course of his golfing career, according to the PGA. He is listed as the all-time highest earner in golf. Phil Mickelson, the second-highest-paid golfer, has earned around $90 million by comparison.

Woods’ talent was so prodigious, his total earnings from both winnings and endorsements top $1 billion.


The Very Early Days of His Golf Career

Tiger Woods was born Eldrick Tont Woods on Dec. 30, 1975, the son of a retired Army lieutenant colonel. The future pro golfer received the nickname Tiger from his father, who had called his Vietnam soldier friend the same name.

Woods grew up in Cypress, California, and, according to his biographical website, developed an interest in golf as early at age 6 months when he imitated his father hitting golf balls into a net. By age 5, he was featured in publications such as Golf Digest.

1991: Becomes Youngest U.S. Junior Amateur Champion

Tiger Woods played his first professional tournament in the 1991 Junior Amateur Championship and would secure that title two more consecutive times in ’92 and ’93. In 1994, Woods tied for 34th place in the 1994 Johnnie Walker Asian Classic, according to the player’s website.

Woods continued pursuing a golf career at Stanford University, where he enrolled in 1994. He played his first major a year later, only to tie for 41st place. Woods would later become a front-runner in the game of golf.

1996: Tiger Woods Turns Pro

Tiger Woods went pro on Aug. 27, 1996. His final amateur victory marked his third consecutive U.S. Amateur Championship win, gaining him 18 straight victories before entering the big leagues. Tiger turning pro led to some nice endorsements, boosting his net worth and earnings.

1996-97: The Beginning of Major Endorsements

Woods and Nike have been together since 1996 when he went pro. The initial signing — a five-year, $40 million contract — made Woods the highest-paid golfer in the game at the time.

Woods also had a string of successful signings in 1997, including the Titleist unit of American Brands Inc. for $20 million, the American Express Company for $13 million and Rolex for $7 million.

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1997: His First Masters Win

The year 1997 would be one of Tiger Woods’ highest points. His first major victor also set a few records: largest margin of victory at the Masters Tournament at 12 strokes, lowest 72-hole Masters score at 270 and youngest player to win at Augusta, at age 21.

The victory was important not just for Woods’ awe-inspiring scores, but also because of the cultural significance of Woods being the first black man to win the Masters. Lee Elders was the first black man to play in the Masters in 1975.

2000-01: Tiger Woods' Career Grand Slam

A golf grand slam is when a player wins four tournaments between April and August. Known as golf’s majors, the four tournaments are the following:

  • Masters Tournament in April

  • U.S. Open in June

  • British Open Championship in July

  • PGA Championship in August

Tiger Woods is the only modern-era golfer to win all four major tournaments in a row, according to Golfweek, playing the Masters tournament in 2001 and the other three in 2000. Golfweek also notes that no modern golfer has won all four tournaments in one season.


2008: Last Major Championship Victory

Tiger Woods’ last major championship victory occurred in 2008, with a stunning win at the U.S. Open. Stunning, because not only did the victory give him his third career grand slam, he played when he was in a tremendous amount of pain. Golf writer Craig Dolch, who called Woods’ win his favorite moment in golf, reported that Woods played with “a broken leg. And a torn anterior cruciate ligament.”

His victory was so tremendous it purportedly disrupted the stock market, according to Bleacher Report.

2009-10: Tiger Woods' Cheating Scandal and Divorce

After 2008, Woods’ next two years were pretty fraught with drama. After a series of infidelities surfaced in the tabloids and mainstream news, Elin Nordegren, Woods’ then-wife, filed for divorce. She eventually received a payout of $750 million in a settlement reached in June 2010 in exchange for her silence surrounding the scandal. Additionally, Woods was not allowed to bring girlfriends around his kids.

The divorce was a massive financial setback for Woods as the scandal also cost him sponsors, but the events also had ramifications on what had been — until then — one of the most successful golfing careers in history.

2009-10: Loyal and Lost Endorsement Deals

Nike has been fairly loyal to Woods, electing to stand by him amidst his 2009 scandal while others such as AT&T and Gatorade dropped him. Shareholders of Woods’ sponsors lost a collective $5 billion to $12 billion following the scandal, according to a University of California Davis study.


2017: DUI Arrest

Tiger Woods was arrested for driving under the influence in May 2017. Woods had two sleep medications, two painkillers and the active ingredient for marijuana in his system when he was arrested, according to the Associated Press. However, it seems his DUI wasn’t enough to scare off his sponsors, who stayed mostly silent following his arrest.

2009-Present: Championship Struggles

Tiger Woods’ last major win was in 2008. He did win the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the Tour Championship in September 2018. The lack of wins, possibly an effect of 2009’s scandal, definitely affected Woods’ earnings. When he announced he would temporarily withdraw from the game to try and mend his marriage, the New York Post estimated he would lose about $180 million in endorsements.

Tiger Woods' Golf Records

Tiger Woods offers fans a look at some of his key golfing stats on his website, including:

  • 19 holes-in-one

  • 15 pro majors won (though 18 majors in total)

  • 80 PGA tour career victories, nine which were won in 2000

  • Lowest actual scoring average of 68.17

  • Nearly 150 consecutive events without missing the cut

The PGA keeps a list of Woods’ records, including the most weeks leading at No. 1 in golf rankings, and a number of years leading the money list for a combined decade.

How Does Tiger Woods Spend His Money?

Tiger Woods’ major purchases include a $20 million megayacht called Privacy equipped with a bar, jacuzzi, and gym; a mansion with a golf course as a backyard in Jupiter, Florida; and a G5 private jet worth over $50 million. Woods’ earnings are high enough that he landed a spot on Forbes’ highest-paid athletes of 2016 at No. 12.

Although he’s fairly lavish with his personal purchases, not all of Woods’ earnings are spent on himself.

Tiger Woods' Ventures

Tiger Woods has given to charity, albeit a charity named after himself. The TGR Foundation received $12 million from Woods in 2012. The charity falls under the umbrella of Tiger Woods Ventures, which is Woods’ business and philanthropic company. This also includes TGR Live, which manages and produces “unforgettable charity events that benefit the TGR Foundation.”

2019: Wins U.S. Masters

Within the last two years, Tiger Woods has positioned himself in three top-five finishes and five top-12 finishes. He currently ranks No. 6 on the Official World Golf Ranking as of April 15, 2019. Despite, a string of serious injuries impeding his career, including a 2015 back surgery, his U.S. Masters win has set up Tiger for a potentially big 2019 golf season.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: A Look at Tiger Woods’ Tumultuous Career and Life