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Tiger Woods      

Top-Ranked Professional Golfer

Eldrick Tont Woods, better known as Tiger Woods, was born on December 30, 1975, in Cypress, California, the only child of an African-American Army officer father and a Thai mother. When Woods was a child, his father began calling him "Tiger" in honor of a fellow soldier and friend who had the same moniker. Around this same time, Woods learned to play golf. His father, Earl, served as his teacher and mentor. Around the age of 8, Woods had become extremely proficient at the game, even showing off his skills on television shows such as Good Morning America.

Woods studied at Stanford University, and won a number of amateur U.S. golf titles before turning professional in 1996. He shot to fame after winning the U.S. Masters at Augusta in 1997—with a record score of 270—at the age of 21. Woods was the youngest man to earn the title, and the first African-American to accomplish this feat.

In his first appearance at the British Open later that year, Woods tied the course record of 64. The next few years brought even more successes, including four US PGA titles, three U.S. Open wins, three Open Championship wins, and three U.S. Masters wins.

In 2003, among Woods' five wins were the Buick Invitational and the Western Open. The next year, Woods won only one official PGA Tour championship. While he may have had some challenges on the course, his personal life was running smoothly.

Returning to dominate the sport, he won six championships in 2005 and was voted the PGA Tour Player of Year for the seventh time in nine years. Woods experienced a great personal loss in 2006. His father died in May after battling prostate cancer. Despite his grief, Woods returned to golf and won several events, including the PGA championship and the British Open.

He won the World Golf Championship and US PGA Championship in August 2007. The next month, Woods' winning ways continued, garnering the top spot at the BMW Championship and The Tour Championship. He was named Player of the Year by the other participants in the PGA Tour and won his eighth Arnold Palmer Award for being the lead money earner on the tour.

Woods won the U.S. Open on June 16, 2008, in a 19-hole playoff, overcoming sporadic pain in his left knee from arthroscopic surgery performed on April 15. Woods shot a par four on the first and only hole of sudden death while American Rocco Mediate, 45, settled for a bogey.

In the summer of 2012, Woods won the AT&T National, becoming the second-leading golfer for PGA wins. He beat Jack Nicklaus's long-held record for the spot.


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