Tiger Woods: The highs and lows of golf’s greatest ever player

We cast our eyes back and take a closer look at the key events in Tiger Woods' illustrious career, both on and off the golf course.

Tiger Woods' recent car crash is now another significant event to a man who has tasted unbelievable sporting highs but also endured heartbreaking lows in his personal life.

Woods suffered serious leg injuries on Tuesday after a serious car accident in Los Angeles.

The 45-year-old was recovering from his fifth back surgery when the incident happened.

A blistering career that has seen the 15-time Major champion obliterate the field in countless events, many are now wondering whether he will step foot on a golf course again.

Here are the highs and lows that Tiger has experienced during his career.

1997 - First Major victory

Turning professional in 1996 at the tender age of 20, Tiger was quick to show the golfing world what was to come.

By the time the 1997 Masters beckoned, he'd already collected three PGA TOUR wins.

Tiger Woods being presented his first Green Jacket by Sir Nick Faldo.
Tiger Woods being presented his first Green Jacket by Sir Nick Faldo.

But no-one could have predicted his impact would be quite so dramatic. Tiger claimed his first Major title by a record-breaking 12 shots, a thunderclap moment in the sport that would propel him to greatness.

In less than a year after turning pro, he'd already reached number one in the Official Golf World Rankings.

But this was just the beginning.

2000/2001 - The Tiger Slam

Another Major, another record smashed by Tiger. It was becoming a reoccurring theme.

At just 25 years old, Woods became the first player in the modern era to hold all four Major titles at once.

Showing total dominance, he blew his rivals away in the US Open, triumphing by a staggering 15 shots at Pebble Beach. And just a month later, he again left the field in his wake by capturing the Open Championship at St. Andrews by eight strokes.

Woods added a third Major of 2001 when successfully defending his PGA Championship title after beating Bob May in a tense three-hole play-off at Valhalla.

When he added his third Green Jacket by winning the 2001 Masters, Woods could place all four Major Trophies on his mantelpiece and the 'Tiger Slam' was complete.

"I don't think it would be right for me to comment on how significant this is," he said later. "But I'm sure it will go down as one of the top moments in our sport and I'm very proud of my achievements."

Across those four Majors, Woods was a breathtaking 65-under-par.

2006 - Death of his father

After battling with prostate cancer, Tiger's father, Earl, passed away from a heart attack at his home.

The retired US Army lieutenant colonel had taught Tiger the game at a very early age. He would witness his son win numerous junior events and break 70 on a regulation course at just 12 years old.

It was Earl who spent hours studying Jack Nicklaus' records and setting Tiger the task of breaking them.

When Earl passed, Tiger took nine weeks off away from golf to grieve. It was understandable that he missed the cut at the US Open when he returned even though it was his first halfway exit at a Major as a professional.

2008 US Open ecstasy

The grit, determination and refusal to accept defeat showed by Woods throughout the five days of the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines is still astonishing to this day.

Wincing and limping, Tiger not only needed reconstructive surgery to repair damage to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, but he'd also sustained a double stress fracture to his left tibia.

Despite clearly being in agony, Woods went on to claim his 14th Major title. He stayed alive by sinking a 12-foot birdie putt to force an 18-hole play-off against Rocco Mediate before beating his fellow American in a play-off the following day.

But it came at an inevitable cost. Just a week after his US Open glory, Tiger announced that he would miss the rest of the 2008 season to focus on the rehabilitation of his knee.

2009/2010 - Personal scandal

The joy that was seen at the US Open in 2008 was quickly diminished by what followed as Woods went on to suffer some of the darkest days of his career.

Woods' damaged Cadillac is pictured after the crash in 2009.
Woods' damaged Cadillac is pictured after the crash in 2009.

With infidelity rumours starting to surface in late November 2009, Woods crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and his neighbour's tree.

After admitting to several affairs, Woods took a break from golf and confirmed that he'd undertaken therapy in a bid to save his marriage with then-wife Elin Nordegren.

The news led to many companies ending their sponsorship deal with Woods. They included Gatorade, AT&T, Gillette and TAG Heuer.

Nike, by contrast, continued to support Woods.

After six years of marriage, Woods and Nordegren divorced in August 2010.

2010/2011 - Injuries struck

The year 2010 was one to forget for Woods. For the first time in his professional career, he failed to win a single tournament.

At the Players Championship in May, Woods had to end his final round prematurely, withdrawing due to an inflamed facet joint.

Despite the lack of trophies, he did still finish the 2010 season ranked as the second-best golfer in the world although the slide was soon to kick in.

Just under a year later, after suffering a re-occurring injury to his left knee partnered with a 'minor' knock to his Achilles tendon, he withdrew from the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship.

However, the 'minor' injury turned into Woods having to pull out of the Players Championship and miss the next three months due to a strained left Achilles tendon. He returned to action at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, finishing T37th.

He bounced back in style in 2013 with five wins and returned to World No.1. But some further tough years were to follow.

2017 - DUI

In May 2017, Woods encountered another personal low when he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Police officers found him asleep at the wheel of his car and it was later detailed that he had five prescription drugs in his system.

Pleading guilty, Woods agreed to enter a diversion programme and was put on probation for 11 months.

2019 - His fifth Masters win

In one of the greatest sporting comeback stories ever seen, a 44-year-old Tiger rolled back the years and defied the catalogue of previous surgeries to become the second oldest winner of The Masters.

It was his first Major title in 11 years as he showed all the composure of old to beat Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka by a shot.

The win at Augusta sealed his 15th Major title. Could he still challenge Jack Nicklaus' record of 18?

2021 - Car crash

After playing in the PNC Championship with his son, Charlie, Woods underwent surgery on his back to remove a disc fragment which was causing nerve pain.

Tiger Woods' car at the scene of the accident.
Tiger Woods' car at the scene of the accident.

Tiger targeted the Masters as his comeback event, but the accident wiped out those already ambitious hopes.

Surgeons said later that he suffered "comminated open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones".

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