Tiger Woods turns 48, fun facts about his life



by ANDREA GUSSONI

Tiger Woods turns 48, fun facts about his life
© Tom Pennington / Getty Images Sport

If Tiger Woods rings in his 48th birthday on Dec. 30 with an impressive cake adorned with forty-eight candles, it's unlikely that many of us will be in attendance to bear witness to the celebratory glow. However, fear not, as there are endless ways to commemorate this golfing legend, which boasts an enviable list of achievements and endless highlights.

To pay homage to his brilliance, 48 noteworthy entries that speak to his impressive career. For example, it took Tiger a remarkable 291 days from his initial round as a professional to ascend to the Number 1 position in the Official World Golf Ranking - the quickest rise to the top spot in OWGR history.

Tiger Woods, fun facts

Tiger's held the Number 1 spot for a total of 683 weeks - a staggering length of time that surpasses the next four golfers with the most weeks atop of the rankings - namely, Gr
eg Norman, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and Nick Faldo - who combine for a total of 669 weeks.

Notably, in the thirty-one times that Woods finished as a runner-up, Phil Mickelson is the golfer who finished first the most, doing so five times. Vijay Singh managed to accomplish this feat three times, while Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, and Trevor Immelman managed two each. In addition to his fifteen major titles, Tiger also boasts seven runner-up positions in majors—a testament to his ability to capitalize on his opportunities.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that Tiger's 82 PGA Tour victories span seven countries, with two wins each in England and Scotland, and one triumph each in Spain, Canada, Ireland, and Japan. He has secured 74 of these victories in the US, across sixteen different states, with Florida being his favorite location with 16 wins, followed by California with 14 and Ohio with 13.

6. Tiger Woods clinched the inaugural FedExCup in 2007, paving the way for him to become the first golfer to claim the Cup twice in 2009. The only other player to achieve multiple triumphs in this prestigious tournament is Rory McIlroy, who has won it three times so far - in 2016, 2019, and 2022.

7. Woods' tenacity and precision on the golf course have enabled him to emerge victorious in numerous major championships. In fact, he has shot higher than 279 to win a major just once - when he posted an impressive 283 to claim the U.S. Open title in 2008.

8. THE PLAYERS tournament has also been a happy hunting ground for Woods, who has emerged as the winner on two occasions. Interestingly, he is the only golfer to win this competition in both March (2001) and May (2013). Furthermore, he tasted success at TPC Sawgrass in August 1994 when he won the U.S. Amateur.

9. Woods' impeccable performance at the Masters tournament has earned him five coveted titles so far. His strategy for acing the Augusta National Golf Club involves starting off steadily, maintaining the pace towards the finish line, and ratcheting up the pressure during Rounds 2 and 3. Evidence of this blueprint for success can be seen in his stats: he's just 17 under par in the first and final rounds of the Masters, but a jaw-dropping 54 under in the middle two rounds.

10. The "Tiger Slam" remains one of the most impressive accomplishments in golf history. Woods' flawless execution during the 288 major championship holes that constituted the "Tiger Slam," was illustrated by his mastery of the course, his skill, and his tenacity. In those 288 holes, he only made one triple bogey and one double bogey, and played four bogey-free rounds.

11. Although Jack Nicklaus holds the record for the most major wins, with a total of 18, Woods' average winning margin of 4.13 in his 15 major victories sets him apart from the pack. In contrast, Nicklaus' average winning margin of 2.64 is impressive, but not quite on Woods' level.

12. Woods' meteoric rise to fame between 2005 and 2009 is further proof of his golfing prowess. If we were to evaluate his performance by him solely based on his 75 tournament appearances during that period, his remarkable tally of 31 wins would be enough to place him alongside Jimmy Demaret in the rankings-tied for 15th place on the all-time golfing leaderboard .

13. Tiger Woods claimed the prestigious Jack Nicklaus Award for the Player of the Year title an impressive ten times from 1997 to 2009.

14. Displaying unrivaled prowess on the greens, Woods secured the Byron Nelson Award – which recognizes the lowest scoring average – on nine occasions between 1999 and 2009.

15. Woods' first FedExCup triumph in 2007 was nothing short of magnificent, as he secured a resounding victory at the TOUR Championship, thanks to a career-best 72-hole score of 257. He produced a breathtaking display of golf, carding 64- 63-64 in the first three rounds, which resulted in the lowest 54-hole score of his career, before finishing with a 66.

16. So dominant was Woods during his prime that he remained a cut above the rest. During three seasons in which he led the money list, he amassed more winnings than the combined total of those ranked second and third. This feat was achieved in 1999 (with David Duval and Davis Love III in second and third places respectively), in 2000 (with Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els in second and third places respectively), and in 2007 (with Mickelson and Vijay Singh in second and third places respectively).

17. It can be argued that Woods won seven consecutive major championships – within his age group – highlighted by his victories in the U.S. Junior Amateur (in 1991-93), the U.S. Amateur (in 1994-96), and finally the prestigious Masters in 1997.

18. In the summer of 1994, Woods displayed an almost unbeatable form in match play, securing victories in the Pacific Northwest Amateur, Western Amateur, and U.S. Amateur. Although his campaign to bag the California Amateur that year was thwarted in the semifinals, it was still a victory for another young player named Woods – Steve Woods, who, incidentally, has no relation to Tiger.

19. Tiger showcased his prodigious talent by outscoring golfing legends like Johnny Miller in a U.S. Open qualifier at Lake Merced in 1992. Despite shooting an impressive 77-74 compared to Miller's 77-77, neither golfer advanced. Despite being 16, Tiger gave a tough fight to Miller, who was 45 years old and went on to claim another PGA TOUR win in 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

20. Upon joining Stanford in 1994, Tiger swiftly realized that the number of gifted and talented students was immense. He humbly admitted to reporters that in high school, he was the curve-setter, but at Stanford, he was merely following it. This realization highlights Tiger's intelligence, self-awareness and humility, traits that have helped him succeed both on and off the golf course.

21. In 1999, the World Golf Championships made its debut, and Tiger promptly established himself as the kingpin, winning 16 out of the first 33 WGCs and tallying a whopping 18 victories overall. This phenomenal stat is a testament to Tiger's dominance and consistency in one of the most prestigious golfing tournaments in the world.

22. Tiger's triumphs at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Torrey Pines and Firestone (eight each) have given him a total of 24 PGA TOUR wins. This tally puts him on par with Gary Player, indicating that Tiger's winning record at these courses is legendary.

23. Tiger's dominance at eight golf courses speaks volumes about his golfing prowess. His five wins each at Augusta National, Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village, Cog Hill and four wins at Doral, accounts for 52.4% of his total career wins. This impressive statistic underscores Tiger's command over courses that he knows like the back of his hand, enabling him to perform at the highest level when it matters the most.

24. At a mere six years of age, Woods had already graced the stage alongside three esteemed Hall of Famers. His appearances included a well-documented spot on the Mike Douglas Show back in 1978 with the legendary Bob Hope, a feature on "That's Incredible" in 1981 with the esteemed host Fran Tarkenton (of the Pro Football Hall of Fame), and a game of two holes opposite Sam Snead (of the World Golf Hall of Fame) towards the end of the latter's outing.

25. Woods' ventures to San Diego for the Junior World Golf Championships proved a roaring success, with the superstar emerging victorious a staggering five times across four different courses and age categories. He won the 10-and-under event at Presidio in 1984, the 11-and-12 division at Mission Bay in 1988, the 13-and-14 age group at Balboa Park in 1989 and 1990, and the 15-to-17 category at Torrey Pines.

26. Woods' triumphant showing at the 2001 PLAYERS Championship just weeks before sealing the deal on the Masters, marked a historic moment in the golfing universe. The victory signified his completion of the elusive Tiger Slam – holding all five of golf's most prestigious titles simultaneously.

27. While away from the bright lights of the PGA TOUR, Woods still managed to demonstrate his remarkable abilities. A testament to the marvel that was about to sweep through the golfing world came to fruition in January 1998 during the Johnnie Walker Classic. Bizarrely tied for 18th and falling eight shots behind the 54-hole leader, Ernie Els, Woods clinched a stunning 65 home score to match Els' 73 and secure a playoff win, launching him to the forefront of golfing glory.

28. From the farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in early February 1998 till the Wells Fargo Championship held at Quail Hollow in May 2006, Tiger played an astonishing 142 consecutive tournaments without missing a cut. This was no mean feat, as he not only managed to sneak under the cutline on Friday afternoon, but also won 37 of the 142 games - a spectacular 26% win rate.

29. The year 2000 was a remarkable one for Tiger as he managed to score par or better in 47 consecutive rounds from the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson on May 12th up until the end of the season. During this stretch, he was an impressive 185 under par and had an average score of 67.51.

30. The five-year stretch from 1999 to 2003 was an epoch-making one for Tiger. During this time, he won a staggering 32 out of 101 tournaments, an impressive winning percentage of 31.7, and also captured seven majors. His sensational performance included winning five out of six majors from the 1999 PGA to the 2001 Masters, with the lone non-win being his fifth-place finish in Augusta in 2000. Additionally, he won seven out of the eleven majors from the 1999 PGA to the 2002 U.S. Open. By achieving these impressive feats, he joined the likes of Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Arnold Palmer, and Sam Snead - all of whom won seven majors in their careers.

31. The years between 2005 and 2009 were no less impressive as Tiger captured 31 victories in 75 starts, which translates to a remarkable 41.3% win rate, which included six majors.

32. Over the span of those ten seasons, from 1999 to 2003 and 2005 to 2009, Tiger's longest winless drought was only seven tournaments. His longest drought in 2000 and 2009 were only three tournaments.

33. Phil Mickelson halted Tiger Woods' six-tournament winning streak at the 2000 Farmers Insurance Open by shooting an impressive 18 under, beating Woods by four. Woods had claimed four consecutive victories to close out 1999 before winning his first two tournaments of 2000.

34. Nick O'Hern, an unheralded Australian, put an end to Woods' impressive winning streak of seven tournaments in a row - the last six of 2006 and the first of 2007. O'Hern beat Woods in 20 holes during Round 3 of the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain outside of Tucson, Arizona.

35. Tiger Woods is one of five players to have completed the career Grand Slam, but he accomplished this feat in a mere 15 major starts as a professional - a record unmatched by Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.

36. Only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have won the career Grand Slam three times over, cementing their place in golfing history.

37. From the 2000 U.S. Open to the 2001 Masters, Tiger Woods achieved an unparalleled run of four straight major wins. During this run, his stats were staggering - a scoring average of 67.69 for 16 rounds, 65 under par combined, and 15 of his 16 rounds were under par (with him being level par in the other).

38. Tiger Woods' collegiate career was nothing short of impressive. He won 11 out of 26 tournaments and the NCAA individual championship in 1996. In a tournament victory, he was dominating the competition so much that he closed with an 80 and still managed to win by four over Rory Sabbatini.

39. Setting the stage for the "Tiger Slam": With only seven holes remaining and trailing by seven, Tiger Woods goes on a remarkable scoring spree. He finishes the last seven holes five under par, including a remarkable hole-out eagle on the par-4 15th. His final round score of 64, coupled with a stunning performance on the back nine, results in his sixth straight win at the 2000 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Matt Gogel, stunned by Woods' performance, remarked, "I was amazed, to be quite honest. I will not ever be amazed again."

40. Act 1 of the "Tiger Slam": Once again at Pebble, Tiger Woods continues to dominate. He closes with an impressive round of 67 and wins the 2000 U.S. Open by a staggering 15 shots. Ernie Els, unable to find words to describe the magnitude of Woods' performance, stated, "My words probably can’t describe it, so I’m not even going to try."

41. Act II of the "Tiger Slam": Less dominant but still impressive, Tiger wins The Open at the Old Course at St. Andrews by a margin of eight strokes. At the age of 24, he completes the career Grand Slam. Mark Calcavecchia, in awe of Woods' ability, remarks, "He is the chosen one."

42. Act III of the "Tiger Slam": Tiger Woods secures his place in golfing history by becoming only the second player, after Ben Hogan in 1953, to win three professional majors in a single season. In a playoff at the PGA Championship, Woods prevails over Bob May. Butch Harmon, reflecting on Woods' focus, remarks, "Hogan had tremendous focus, and I think you're seeing Tiger is now getting to that level."

43. In a historic achievement known as the "Tiger Slam, Act IV," Tiger Woods secured an unparalleled fourth consecutive major win at the 2001 Masters. Despite being paired with his arch-nemesis Phil Mickelson, who only managed a 70, Woods maintained his focus and shot a final-round 68 to claim victory. Mickelson admitted, "I didn't watch him play a stroke. I just looked up and saw the ball going in," as the thunderous roar from the crowd erupted after Woods' clinching birdie at the 72nd hole.

44. Following his 2008 U.S. Open triumph at Torrey Pines, Tiger Woods was sidelined by knee surgery, putting an end to an era of sheer dominance. With 17 victories in just 28 starts, Woods had outperformed the entire careers of Curtis Strange and Jim Furyk.

45. During his dominant run from 1999 to 2000, Woods played 151 rounds and held at least a share of the lead after an impressive 50 of them.

46. Tiger Woods made his 23rd consecutive weekend appearance at Augusta National in 2023, tying the records set by Fred Couples and Gary Player. This remarkable feat was achieved despite suffering severe injuries to both legs in a 2021 car crash, demonstrating his incredible resilience and determination.

47. In recent years, Woods has dedicated a significant amount of his time to course design. The inaugural PGA TOUR event held at the Woods-designed El Cardonal at Diamante in Mexico in 2023 was a testament to his remarkable talents.

48. On March 9th, 2022, one day ahead of THE PLAYERS Championship, Tiger Woods was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, cementing his place among the sport's all-time greats.

Tiger Woods Pga Tour