Tiger Woods won on the PGA Tour for the first time since August 2013 with triumph at the Tour Championship.
Signs that Woods was back to his best were obvious at August’s PGA Championship, where he finished runner-up to Bryson DeChambeau. It followed an impressive showing at July’s British Open, where he briefly topped the leaderboard.
Woods made an impressive return to competitive golf in 2018 after multiple back surgeries in recent years. He played his first Masters in three years in April.
The four-time champion had back fusion surgery — his fourth procedure — in April 2017 and returned to the game pain-free in December. He finished tied 32nd at Augusta.
Woods was touted as one of the favorites after impressing in his early-season events. He also set tongues wagging by playing a practice round with old rival Phil Mickelson (right).
Woods finished tied second at the Valspar Championship in March and followed it up with a tie for fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. The hype needle moved into overdrive.
Woods set out on his legendary path by becoming the youngest winner of the Masters — at 21 — with a record 12-shot win in 1997.
One of his most remarkable feats was winning his first US Open by an unprecedented 15 shots at Pebble Beach, California, in 2000, sparking a streak never seen before or since.
Woods’ victory in the 2001 Masters meant he held all four of golf’s major titles at the same time, dubbed the “Tiger Slam.”
Woods’ win rate, his dedication to fitness training and his desire to succeed were changing golf. Prize money rocketed because of Woods. Off the course, he married girlfriend Elin Nordegren in 2004.
Woods showed rare emotion when he broke down in tears on the shoulder of caddie Steve Williams following his win in the 2006 British Open at Hoylake, months after his father and mentor Earl passed away.
Despite being visibly hampered and in pain from a knee injury, Woods won the US Open in breathtaking fashion at Torrey Pines, California, in 2008. It was his 14th major title to leave him only four behind the record of Jack Nicklaus. He was later diagnosed with knee ligament damage and two fractures of his left tibia. He missed the rest of the season after surgery. It is still his last major title.
In December 2009, Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant outside his home. As the big picture emerged it was discovered Woods had been conducting a series of extra martial affairs. He took three months away from the game to sort out his private life.
In February 2010 Woods addressed the world’s media to explain and apologise for his actions. His infidelity led to divorce and was the beginning of a downhill slide in Woods’ playing career. By October he lost the world No. 1 ranking, a position he had held for 281 consecutive weeks
Woods was back in the winner’s circle in 2013, lifting five titles, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational, to get back to the top of the rankings.
Later in 2013 there were signs all was not well as Woods was seen to be in pain as he picked the ball out of the hole at the Barclays tournament in August. He missed the Masters the following April for the first time since 1994 to undergo back surgery.
Woods pulled out of the Farmers Insurance Open in February 2015, and struggled with injury and form for the rest of the season.
Woods cut a dejected figure at that year’s US Open as he struggled with his game and carded rounds of 80 and 76 to miss the cut.
In August 2015 Woods made his last appearance for 15 months to undergo follow-up back surgeries. At one stage during his rehabilitation, Woods spoke of there being “no light at the end of the tunnel” — and with one eye on his fading career, he suggested “everything beyond this will be gravy.”
Woods made a much-anticipated return to golf in December 2016, showing signs of promise with the highest number of birdies in the field — 24 — but he also made a number of costly errors to finish third from last in the 18-man event.
He missed the cut in his first event of 2017 in the US and pulled out after the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic in February, citing back spasms. He underwent a fourth back prodecure in April.
In August Woods entered a first-offender program and pleaded guilty to reckless driving on October 28. He will avoid jail unless he commits major violations of his probation.
Woods returned to golf after 301 days at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas on November 30 2017. He carded a three-under first-round 69 and appeared pain-free and hungry to resume his career.