Tiger Woods’ rise to the top

One would be hard-pressed to argue the fact that Eldrick “Tiger” Woods was bred for superstardom. At six months, Woods would imitate his father’s swing as he migrated from his high chair to the open world. At age two, he appeared on the Mike Douglas show and had a putting contest with Bob Hope. The golf world knew he was coming.

As far as success against his peers goes, Woods won the Optimist International Junior Tournament six times after he was posted into Golf Digest magazine at age five. Some of the most famous golfers of all time, including Jack Nicklaus, had seen Woods play at a very early age and were following his entire career. Woods played in his first professional tournament in 1992, age 16, at the Nissan Los Angeles Open and proceeded to play in three more PGA Tour events in 1993.

Woods received his first letter from Stanford University when he was in eighth grade. Stanford had followed him from early on when he was a young prodigy. All throughout Woods high school career he played to impress Stanford and eventually made the decision to play there. Woods compiled one of the most impressive amateur careers the game of golf has ever seen, achieving Golf Digest player of the year award in 1991 and 1992. He also achieved Golfweek National Amateur of the year in 1992. On top of his three consecutive US Amateur titles and NCAA title, Woods set the record at Stanford for most tournaments ever won as an individual. This is a record that still stands today.

Making his professional debut late in the 1996 season, Woods played in the Greater Milwaukee Open. There he managed to get into the top 125 money winners and get his PGA Tour card. Then Woods really started his career off with a bang in 1997, winning not only his first event at the Mercedes Championship but also winning three other events including The Masters. Woods was the lead money winner that year (earning the Arnold Palmer Award) with $2,066,833 in PGA Tour prize money.

In Woods 42nd week as a professional, he earned the World No. 1 spot in golf. This was and still is the fastest progression to World No. 1 that the game of golf has ever seen. Not only was it the fastest rise to the top but he was also the youngest at 21 years, 24 weeks.

In 1999 Woods won eight PGA Tour events and made a prize money total of $6,616,585. His reign was such that Woods won 52 percent of all the prize money he could have won. He won 81.7 percent more than the runner-up, the highest margin since Byron Nelson in 1945 (87.2 percent) and Hogan in 1946 (85 percent). He was the first to have as many as eight PGA TOUR victories in one year since Johnny Miller won eight in 1974.

2000 is when Woods showed his teeth for the first time in his career. Woods won three of the four majors that year and eventually went on to win The Masters in early 2001. Woods held all 4 major trophies at one time, a feat that only a select few in the golf world have accomplished. Tiger Woods was a dominate force in the golf world and the rest of his career is history.

Today Woods has 14 majors, a record that comes in second to Jack Nicklaus with 18 majors. Woods has 79 wins on the PGA Tour and hopes to chase down Sam Snead at 82. Tiger Woods has un-doubtfully changed the game of golf and history will forever know his name. Whether or not he will break all of the records, only time will tell, but for now all one can do is sit back and recollect on the dominate golf career that Woods has achieved.






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Ben Roeder

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