Tiger Woods is one of the most successful golfers of all time. He has also been one of the world’s highest paid athletes for the last number of years. Born on December 30th 1975, he began playing professional golf at the age of twenty after much success as an amateur in the sport. Less than a year after he had turned professional, he won his first Major tournament – The Masters – probably the most prestigious and respected tournament in the world of golf. He reached the number one spot in the world rankings within a year of turning professional also, no mean feat in itself.
Tiger Woods’ success meant he reaped the rewards financially over the years. As of 2016, Tiger Woods’ net worth is believed to approximately $700 million. This impressive figure means Woods has ranked in the top ten richest athletes in the world for the past number of years, coming in at number 9 currently. Tiger Woods is believed to have earned about $1.3 billion over the years just from playing golf. However, 80% of his earnings are believed to be from various endorsements. So what happened to the first billionaire athlete? Let’s find out…
Tiger Woods’ Golfing Career
Woods won the masters tournament in 1997, less than a year after he turned professional. This win propelled him to the world number one spot two months later making it the fastest ever ascent to number one by a golfer. After an average enough year in 1998, Woods had a phenomenal 1999 in which he won eight times, one pf those being a major – the PGA Championship. His winning streak continued into 2000, where he achieved six consecutive wins. This had not been achieved since the days of Ben Hogan in 1948. Woods completed his career grand slam in 2000 becoming the youngest player to ever do this at just twenty-four years old, He finished 2000 with nine championship wins.
He entered 2001 and won the Masters for a second time. The win meant that Woods was the first player ever to hold all four major titles at the same time, albeit not in the same calendar year.
Woods had a superb 2001 and 2002. Although he did not win any majors in 2003 or 2004, he spent 264 weeks at the world number one spot.
Woods has won 14 Majors over the course of his career thus far. He has worn that famous green jacket four times, winning the Masters in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005.
Woods has won the US Open a total of three times in the years 2000, 2002 and 2008. He has won the Open Championship three times in total in 2000, 2005 and 2006 and finally the PGA Championship four times in the years 1999, 2000, 2006 and 2007.
He continued his successful streak into 2008 until he underwent knee surgery. He won the US Open that year claiming it was his ‘greatest ever championship’ considering the pain he had been in before the knee surgery.
Late in 2009, Woods announced he would be taking a break from golf as he dealt with the personal scandal that had emerged and he and then wife Elin went through their separation.
He returned to play in 2010 at the Masters in Augusta and finished in a tie for fourth place.
However, Woods golf continued to suffer into 2011 and 2012 and his world ranking dropped lower than it had been since he had started playing professionally fifteen years previous.
A spate of wins in 2013 saw Tiger return to dominate the world of golf and reclaim his spot at the number one ranking. Wins at the Farmers Insurance Open, the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational helped him achieve this.
In 2014, Woods sustained a back injury that seen his career take a turn for the worst. Playing the WGC-Cadillac Championship which he has won the previous year, it was visible that he was in pain. He underwent a microdisecectomy and missed the Masters that year for the very first time since 1994. Since then, he has struggled with this ongoing injury and has since undergone follow up surgery in an attempt to return to injury-free play in September of 2015.
He recently announced that he had no fixed date to return to competitive golf.
Tiger Woods Personal Life
Tiger Woods married former Swedish model, Elin Nordegren in October 2004, having met three years earlier at The Open Championship. In 2007 their first child, a daughter was born – Sam Alexis. Two years later, their son Charlie Axel was born. But the idyllic fairy-tale ending was not destined for Woods and wife Elin as he was hit with a scandal last in 2009. A number of women came forward claiming Woods had extra-marital affairs with them. This led to his separation and divorce from Elin the following year in 2010. The scandal was so publicly portrayed in the media; it was damaging not only to Tiger Woods’ personal life but to his professional life too. He lost a number of sponsorship he held at that time. The magazine in which Woods used to write a column each month, Golf Digest, even terminated his column.
Tiger Woods made a public statement after claiming to have spent forty-five days on a therapy program to help him with his issues. In the statement he publicly apologized, stating that due to the money and fame he had achieved over the course of his golfing career so far, he felt like he could do what he wanted and get away with it. He went on to admit how he was wrong and foolish in the televised statement.
Not many athletes could be hot with such a scandal and bounce ask like Tiger Woods did but slowly he regained the trust of the media, the fans and more importantly for him financially, his sponsors.
The golfing legend announced in March 2013 that he had found love again and was dating Linsey Vonn, a skier with the US ski team. However, it was not to be and they announced they had parted ways in May 2015.
Sponsorships & Endorsements
Tiger Woods was often classed as ‘the world’s most marketable athletes’ at the start of his professional career. He signed deals with various companies including Accenture, Titleist, American Express and Nike to name but a few. In 2000, The golf superstar signed a deal with Nike, extending his contact for a further five years. The contract was worth $105 million and at the time broke the record of being the largest endorsement deal signed by an athlete. Woods has been the ultimate endorser for Nike over the years, wearing Nike attire to all tournaments he played. Woods’ loyalty to Nike paid off as they were one of the few companies who stood by him when scandal hit in 2009.
In 2005, Tiger Woods collaborated with the luxury watch brand TAG Heuer to release the world’s very first professional golf watch. The watch was the first of its kind and was designed to be worn while playing the game.
In 2007, he joined other sporting legends, footballer Thierry Henry and tennis player Roger Federer in becoming an ambassador for Gillette. The three athletes were endorsed as part of the Gillette Champions campaign.
Gatorade teamed up with Tiger Woods in 2007 also and launched ‘Gatorade Tiger’ which was sold on the US market for over a year.
Tiger Woods’ Other Ventures
In 1996, Woods and his father Earl founded the Tiger Woods Foundation. The foundation was established to encourage children who lived in the cities to part take in Golf. Out of the foundation, Woods then established the Tiger Woods Learning Center in California. This initiative was to help make college accessible to youths from disadvantaged areas and backgrounds. Woods hosts a couple of golf tournaments every year including the Chevron World Challenge and the AT&T National. The proceeds of these tournaments go to help the foundation.
In 2006, Woods decided to venture into golf course design and set up the company ‘Tiger Woods Design’. He began work designing a golf course in Dubai but four years later in 2010, only seven of the eighteen holes had been completed. The following year it was reported that the project had been permanently halted. Woods took on two more course designs – one in North Carolina in 2008. However, the project ran into financial difficulty and construction on the course was suspended. The third course in Punta Brava, Mexico has not yet begun construction although it was announced the project was to go ahead in 2008.
Woods always had an interest in writing about golf and wrote a monthly column with the magazine Golf Digest from 1997 until 2011, when they terminated his column due to the Woods’ personal scandal hitting the media. Woods also wrote a best-selling golf instruction book in 2001 entitled ‘How I Play Golf’.
What’s Tiger Woods Doing Now in 2018?
With the future uncertain for Woods as he continues to recover and undergo rehabilitation for the back procedures he underwent last year, it is unclear whether he will return to competitive golf. There was much disappointment when he announced he would not play the prestigious Masters Tournament in Augusta National. Woods however felt that he was giving himself the best possible chance to recover and return to the game injury-free.
Tiger is still earning big from endorsements even though he has not had much earnings from golf tournaments from the last two years. Golf fans and critics alike would love to see the golf sensation back on the course and winning again. As of now he’s still playing and we hope he can find his form before it’s too late.