Sports

How we got here: The Tiger Woods timeline


This story was originally published on Nov. 27, 2019. It was updated on Feb. 24, 2021.

Injuries are nothing new to Tiger Woods, but he has never faced ones as serious as his multiple leg fractures suffered in a car crash on Tuesday in Southern California. Still, he has dealt with numerous health issues throughout his career, long before his first Masters win in 1997.

In 1994, Woods had surgery on his left knee to remove two benign tumors and scar tissue. There was a surgery on Dec. 13, 2002, that saw fluid removed from inside and outside the ACL. He also had benign cysts removed from his left knee, missing the 2003 season opener.

In 2007, though, things really changed, setting the next stage of his life and a career filled with ups and downs:

The injuries start to mount

August 2007
Sometime after The Open played at Carnoustie that year, Woods said he ruptured his ACL while running. But he was able to keep playing and won the PGA Championship.

April 15, 2008
Two days after a runner-up finish at the Masters, Woods had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee — his third knee surgery — to repair cartilage damage. Several weeks later, he was informed that he had two stress fractures in his left tibia and was advised to take time off and use crutches.

June 24, 2008
Eight days after winning the U.S. Open, he had surgery on his left knee — his fourth procedure — to reconstruct his ACL, using a tendon from his right thigh. He also had cartilage repaired and did not play the rest of the year.

Feb. 25, 2009
Returns to the PGA Tour after eight months away due to surgery to replace the ACL in his left knee that occurred just days after winning the U.S. Open, his 14th major title, in a playoff over Rocco Mediate. Woods makes it to the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where he is defeated by Tim Clark.

March 29, 2009
Stuns Sean O’Hair by coming from five strokes back at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, converting a birdie putt on the 18th hole at Bay Hill to capture his first tournament title since the 2008 U.S. Open in just his third start after returning from knee surgery.

July 17, 2009
Coming off his third victory of the year at the AT&T National and having posted eight top-10 finishes — including three wins — in nine starts, Woods surprisingly misses the cut at The Open after rounds of 71-74 at Turnberry. It is his first missed cut as a pro at The Open and just his third as a pro in major championships.

Aug. 16, 2009
Following consecutive victories at the Buick Open and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Woods goes for three in a row at the PGA Championship, where he has a four-shot lead through 36 holes and a two-shot advantage heading into the final round. But unheralded Y.E. Yang shoots a final-round 70 to Woods’ 75. It was the first time Woods failed to hold on to a 54-hole lead in a major championship.

Sept. 13, 2009
Cruises to an eight-shot victory with a final-round 68 at the BMW Championship, his sixth win of the year on the PGA Tour.

Sept. 27, 2009
Finishes second to Phil Mickelson by three strokes at the Tour Championship but wraps up his second FedEx Cup title in three years.

Nov. 15, 2009
Posts a seventh worldwide victory of the year by shooting a final-round 68 at Kingston Heath to capture the Australian Masters in Melbourne.

Nov. 25, 2009
A story published by the National Enquirer alleges Woods was having an affair with a New York woman named Rachel Uchitel, who had been with Woods while he competed in Australia. She later denied the report.

The scandal erupts

Nov. 27, 2009
Woods crashes his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a neighbor’s tree early Friday morning following Thanksgiving. The incident happened just yards from his Florida home. Woods’ wife, Elin, used a golf club to smash a back window as Tiger lay unconscious. Woods was briefly hospitalized.

Nov. 29, 2009
Woods releases a statement on his website taking blame for an “embarrassing” crash and saying that “This situation is my fault, and it’s obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I’m human and I’m not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Nov. 30, 2009
Citing the injuries suffered in the accident, Woods withdraws from the Chevron World Challenge, the annual tournament that benefits his foundation and is run by his staff. He says he will not compete again until next year.

Dec. 1, 2009
The Florida Highway Patrol announces that Woods faces a $164 fine for careless driving and four demerit points against his driver’s license. He will not face criminal charges. The same day, Us Weekly magazine says it has a cover story in which Jaimee Grubbs, a 31-year-old cocktail waitress, says she had an affair with Woods for more than two years and has text messages to prove it.

Dec. 2, 2009
Woods admits to unspecified “transgressions” that he regrets “with all my heart” in a statement on his website. “I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves,” he said. “I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.”

Dec. 11, 2009
The Sun, a British tabloid, reports that Woods is ready to quit golf to save his marriage. Woods releases a statement the same day on his website saying he is taking an indefinite leave from golf to work on saving his marriage. “After much soul-searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf,” Woods said. “I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father and person.”

Dec. 12, 2009
Gillette, one of Woods’ sponsors, says it will phase him out of its advertisements while he takes time away from the game.

Dec. 13, 2009
Accenture Ltd. becomes the first major sponsor to completely cut ties with Woods, saying the golfer is “no longer the right representative” after the “circumstances of the last two weeks.” Woods had made his return at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February.

Dec. 31, 2009
AT&T becomes the second sponsor to break ties with Woods. The company will continue to sponsor the AT&T National, which benefits Woods’ foundation, but Woods will not be the tournament host.

Jan. 16, 2010
Several reports indicate Woods has checked into a sexual addiction treatment facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Four days later, a celebrity website posts photos from the National Enquirer that show Woods at the facility.

Feb. 11, 2010
Woods leaves inpatient therapy after 45 days and returns to his Florida home.

Feb. 19, 2010
In a 13½-minute statement televised to a worldwide audience from PGA Tour headquarters in Florida, Woods makes his first public comments since the scandal began but takes no questions. “I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was not acceptable,” Woods says to a room full of family members, supporters and three journalists. “For all that I have done, I am so sorry. I have a lot to atone for, but there’s one issue I really want to discuss. Some people have speculated that Elin somehow hurt or attacked me on Thanksgiving night. It hurts me that people would fabricate a story like that.” Woods gives no indication when he will return to competitive golf.

Feb. 25, 2010
Gatorade ends its contract with Woods after having three years earlier announced plans to develop a branded drink called Gatorade Tiger.

March 16, 2010
Woods issues a statement announcing his return to competitive golf at the Masters. “After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta,” he says.

March 21, 2010
Woods conducts his first television interviews, five minutes each with the Golf Channel and ESPN, in which parameters are set for him to be standing during each. He tells Golf Channel that he tried to stop having extramarital affairs but couldn’t; he tells ESPN he is “a little nervous” about the reception he will receive from spectators at the Masters. Read the entire interview here.

Golf and pain

April 8, 2010
In the first round of the Masters, his first competition in five months, Woods shoots 68 at Augusta National — the first time he has broken 70 on the opening day of the tournament.

April 11, 2010
Woods begins the final round with a chance at victory, but falls out of contention and shoots 69, tying for fourth.

May 9, 2010
During the final round of the Players Championship, Woods withdraws on the seventh hole with a neck injury he fears is a bulging disk.

May 10, 2010
Noticeably absent during the Players Championship, Hank Haney, Woods’ coach since 2004, says he is no longer his swing coach.

July 4, 2010
For the first time in 11 years, Woods fails to break par in any round of a PGA Tour event, tying for 46th at the AT&T National, where he had won the year prior.

Aug. 8, 2010
At a place where he has won seven times, Woods beats just one player at Firestone during the Bridgestone Invitational, posting the highest 72-hole score of his career (298) to finish in a tie for 78th.

Aug. 10, 2010
At the PGA Championship, Woods asks instructor Sean Foley to videotape his swing during a practice round, leading to a formal working arrangement.

Aug. 23, 2010
Woods and Elin Nordegren are officially divorced.

Aug. 26, 2010
Woods opens with a 65 at The Barclays to share the 18-hole lead, the only time all year his name is atop a leaderboard.

Sept. 7, 2010
Woods is chosen by captain Corey Pavin as one of his four at-large picks for the Ryder Cup to be played in Wales.

Sept. 10, 2010
With a tie for 15th at the BMW Championship, Woods fails to qualify for the Tour Championship for the first time in his career.

Oct. 4, 2010
Woods has his best Ryder Cup, making seven birdies and an eagle in singles against Francesco Molinari, to go 3-1 overall. But the U.S. team loses 14½ to 13½.

Oct. 31, 2010
Woods’ record streak of 281 consecutive weeks atop the Official World Ranking comes to an end when Lee Westwood takes over the No. 1 spot.

Nov. 7, 2010
A final-round 68 means a tie for sixth at the HSBC Champions, officially ending Woods’ streak of 14 consecutive years with at least one PGA Tour victory.

Nov. 17, 2010
Woods tweets for the first time.

He picks up more than 80,000 followers within the first 12 hours.

April 10, 2011
Woods is briefly tied for the lead during the final round of the Masters, where he shoots a final-round 67 to tie for fourth. But during the third round, he suffers an Achilles/knee injury while hitting a shot off pine straw, an injury that worsens and would eventually cause him to miss three months.

May 12, 2011
Woods returns at the Players Championship but, with his injury, shoots 42 for nine holes at TPC Sawgrass and withdraws. He doesn’t return until late in the summer.

July 20, 2011
Woods announces that he has parted ways with longtime caddie Steve Williams, who says he is “shocked” by the decision. The parting had actually come two weeks earlier, but the news was kept quiet until after The Open. Woods won 72 times, including 13 major championships, over 12 years with Williams as his caddie. Part of the alleged reason for the split was Williams’ decision to work for Adam Scott on an interim basis while Woods was out.

Aug. 4, 2011
After missing the U.S. Open and The Open, Woods returns to competitive golf at Firestone Country Club, where he has previously won seven times. But after an opening-round 68, he struggles, finishing in a tie for 37th, 18 strokes behind winner Adam Scott. Afterward, Steve Williams calls it “the greatest” of his caddie victories.

Aug. 11, 2011
Woods opens the PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club with a 77, assuring a missed cut and meaning Woods will not qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs for the first time.

Sept. 23, 2011
Following the final round of the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Woods announces that he is hiring veteran caddie Joe LaCava to work for him. LaCava, who had spent the majority of his caddie career with Fred Couples, had been working for Dustin Johnson.

Sept. 26, 2011
Despite having played just two tournaments since the Masters, Woods is selected by captain Fred Couples at one of his at-large selections for the Presidents Cup to be played in December. There was no drama, as Couples had said weeks earlier that Woods would be on the team.

Nov. 13, 2011
Woods’ closest brush with victory since 2009 comes at the Australian Open, where rounds of 68-67 give him the 36-hole lead. A third-round 75 dooms his chances, but Woods rebounds with a final-round 67 to finish 2 strokes behind winner Greg Chalmers in third place.

Nov. 20, 2011
Woods earns the clinching point in the United States’ 19-15 Presidents Cup victory at Royal Melbourne as he wins his singles match, 4 and 3, over Aaron Baddeley. Woods goes 2-3 overall in the competition.

Dec. 4, 2011
At the Chevron World Challenge, Woods’ annual event to benefit his foundation, he shoots a final-round 69 to edge Zach Johnson by a stroke, winning for the first time since 2009. Although the victory is unofficial, it does come with world ranking points and boosts him to 21st in the world after he had been 50th following the Australian Open.

March 4, 2012
Woods puts a scare into Rory McIlroy as he rallies with a final-day 62 that includes an eagle on the 18th hole at the Honda Classic. He ends up 2 shots behind McIlroy but a week later withdraws during the final round at Doral due to an Achilles issue.





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