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Tiger's Turbulent Year

An in-depth look at a tumultuous 12-month period for the world's most famous athlete

Tiger Woods

For 14 years as a professional golfer, Tiger Woods towered over the sports world in just about every aspect. Winning. Check. Endorsements. Check. Fame. Check. Image. Check. But starting near the end of 2009, Woods went through a 12-month stretch in which his too-good-to-be-true world came crashing down. Woods lost sponsors and money, and he lost golf tournaments. All of them. Golf fans saw a master's skill suddenly vanish and the general public saw a severely flawed man thanks to a scandal that set off perhaps the biggest media frenzy of all-time. Blue chip companies like Gatorade and Accenture dropped him, his wife divorced him, and a season that lacked almost any highlights saw him even slip from the top spot in the world ranking. The biggest positive for Woods is that in a sport where players can flourish well into their 40s and even beyond, he will only turn 35 at the end of 2010. His longevity as a superstar, however, hinges on whether the rest of his career can mirror all those early years, rather than this taxing last one.

Tiger Woods

November 15, 2009

Woods picks up a win at the Australian Masters in his first trip to the continent in more than a decade. Ho-hum. During the week, he is mobbed by adoring fans who watch his every movement and root for him like he's one of their own. Aside from the winner's check for $252,000, it is reported that Woods pockets an extra $3 million for simply teeing it up. The Australian government, which estimated Woods' time Down Under brought in more than $20 million in revenue, determines the fee to be money well spent. Little did anyone know that this would be the last trophy collected by the world's top-ranked player for a while.
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