Tiger Woods: Black History Month

Tiger Woods was born Eldrick Woods on December 30, 1975, in Cypress, California. He is the only child of Earl and Kultida Woods. His parents founded out that their son's talent at an unusually early age. They said that he was playing with a putter before he could walk. The boy was gifted not only with exceptional playing abilities, but he also possessed a passion for the sport. Woods first gained national attention on a talk show when he beat a famous comedian and a golfer named Bob Hope in a putting contest. The young boy was only three at the time, and he was quickly recognized as a child with remarkable talent.

Tiger's father has never denied that he devoted his energies to developing his son's talent and to furthering the boy's career as a golfer. During practice sessions, Tiger learned to maintain his composure and to hold his concentration while his father made extremely loud noises and created other distractions. All the while, Tiger's mother made sure that her son's rare talent and his budding golf career would not interfere with his childhood or his future happiness. His mother was a native of Thailand and passed on to her son the mystical ideals of Buddhism, an eastern religion that seeks to go beyond human suffering and existence.

In many ways Woods grew up as a typical middle-class American boy. He developed a taste for junk food and affection for playing video games. He also spent a fair share of his time clowning around in front of his father's ever-present video camera. As for playing golf, there is no question that the sport was the focus of his childhood. He spent many hours practicing his swing and playing in youth tournaments. Woods was eight years old when he won his first formal competition. From that point he became virtually unstoppable, winning trophies and breaking amateur records everywhere.

Career Woods became a professional golfer in August 1996, and immediately signed deals with Nike, Inc. and Titleist that ranked as the most lucrative endorsement contracts in golf history at that time. Woods was named Sports Illustrated 1996 Sportsman of the Year and PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. In April 1997, he won his first major, the Masters, becoming the tournament's youngest-ever winner. Two months later, he set the record for the fastest-ever ascent to #1 in the Official World Golf Rankings. After a lackluster 1998, Woods finished the 1999 season with eight wins, including the PGA Championship, a feat not achieved since 1974.

In 2000, Woods achieved six consecutive wins, the longest winning streak since 1948. One of these was the 2000 U.S. Open, where he broke or tied nine tournament records in what Sports Illustrated called "the greatest performance in golf history. At age 24, he became the youngest golfer to achieve the Career Grand Slam. At the end of 2000, Woods had won nine of the twenty PGA Tour events he entered and had broken the record for lowest scoring average in tour history. He was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, the first and only athlete to be honored twice, and was ranked by Golf Digest magazine as the twelfth-best golfer of all time.

In 2006, Woods began dominantly, winning his first two PGA tournaments but failing to capture his fifth Masters championship in April. Following the death of his father in May, Woods took a nine-week off. However, he quickly returned to form and ended the year by winning six consecutive tour events. At the season's close, with 54 wins and 12 majors wins, Woods had broken the tour records for both total wins and total majors wins over eleven seasons. Personal Life

While his life on the green seemed lackluster, his personal life was in an even more serious tailspin. In late November, reports surfaced about a tryst between Woods and nightclub manager Rachel Uchitel. Both parties denied a relationship, despite photographic evidence that seemed to indicate otherwise. On November 27, as the story gained traction, media outlets announced that Woods had collided into a fire hydrant outside his home at 2:30 in the morning. Reports said that Woods' wife had broken the back window of the golfer's SUV with a golf club in order to get him out of the locked car.

The golfer's injuries were not serious, and he was quickly released. The accident aroused suspicions with fans and the media, who instantly pushed for a statement from Woods. But the golfer remained silent on the matter, and mysteriously dropped out of his charity golf tournament, the Chevron World Challenge. He then announced that he would not be attending any other tournaments in 2009. As the silence grew, so did reports of other Woods mistresses.

On December 2, 2009, Woods offered an apology to his fans and family, expressing regret for unnamed "transgressions." But as the mistress count rose to more than a dozen women, with phone evidence to back many claims, Woods was unable to suppress media inquiries into his life. Woods was said to have offered his wife a renegotiation of their prenuptial agreement in order to compel her to stick by him, but reports soon surfaced that Nordgren had purchased a home in Sweden with her sister. Photographers then spotted the former model without her wedding ring.