Tiger's Turbulent Year

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Tiger's Turbulent Year

November 09, 2010

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

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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November 21, 2009On a weekend when he is inducted to the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame, Woods participates in the opening coin toss before the start of the football game between the Cardinal and the Cal Bears. Woods attends the game with his infant daughter, Sam Alexis, and his wife, Elin. This photo will turn out to be one of the last images taken of the married couple.

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November 27, 2009

Woods is involved in a one-car accident outside of his Orlando-area home after midnight on Thanksgiving, but details don't begin to trickle out until the next afternoon. First, reports have the star in critical condition, then it is made known that he was released from the hospital; and finally, that he is wanted by authorities for questioning. The entire truth of what went on that night to cause Woods to crash his black Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant may never come out, but what is known is that the investigation ends with Woods being charged with a minor traffic violation for careless driving and paying a $164 fine. The fallout, however, is just beginning.

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November 28-December 5, 2009In the wake of the accident, Woods' absence from the public view -- including a no-show from his own tournament, the Chevron Challenge -- fuels speculation that there is more to the story. A report linking him to having an affair with New York socialite Rachel Uchitel opens the floodgates to other rumors of the golfer's infidelity. Media outlets flock (above) to the small township of Windermere, Fla., with the hopes of learning more about this rapidly-evolving saga.

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Late November-Early December, 2009

Woods' accident coincides with new revelations about his infidelity. As the days go on, more and more women come forward to say they, too, had relationships with Woods and the scandal becomes a worldwide sensation. Already known for breaking records, Woods picks up a dubious one when his story graces the cover of the New York Post (left) for 20 consecutive days, eclipsing the old mark established following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

December 11, 2009

Woods releases a statement on his website in which he apologizes for his "infidelity" and announces that he will be taking "an indefinite break from professional golf." He also vehemently denies ever taking performance-enhancing drugs, a topic that has surfaced due to his connection to Canadian doctor Anthony Galea. It will be another two months before Woods appears in public and even longer before he answers any questions. In the meantime, his quickly disintegrating personal life and reputation becomes fodder for late-night talk shows. A store display of his Nike apparel (above) is as close as the public will get to seeing the fallen star as he remains out of sight.

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February 17, 2010After months of staying out of public view, photographs of Woods jogging with a personal trainer near his Orlando-area home in the gated Isleworth community are posted on his website. The images coincide with an announcement that he will make a public statement at the PGA Tour's headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. in a few days. The timing of his scheduled appearance comes under fire since it will occur during the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.

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February 19, 2010

Woods finally emerges from hiding to give a public apology in a 13-plus minute prepared speech at PGA Tour headquarters. Approximately 40 relatives, close friends and acquaintances, including PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem are on hand. The golf media boycotts attending after refusing to yield to several requests from Woods' representatives. In the speech, Woods admits to having spent 45 days in rehab, though, he doesn't specify for what, and says that he is returning to therapy. He gives no definitive timetable on when he will return to golf, instead saying his focus is on saving his marriage. Before leaving without taking any questions, he ends with a plea to the people who believed in him: "I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again."

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March 16, 2010In another written statement posted on his personal web site, Woods announces that he will make his return to professional golf at the Masters. Shortly after, photos appear of him swinging a golf club (above) for the first time since his win in Australia more than three months before. Some analysts question why he is making his return in such a challenging event, while others feel the more-controlled environment of Augusta National makes perfect sense.

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March 21, 2010With little notice, Woods gives his first two televised interviews since the accident with ESPN (above) and the Golf Channel. A third outlet, CBS, declines an invitation to interview Woods because of restrictions made by the player's camp. In the two interviews, Woods gives few details about the night of the crash, shows remorse for his actions and expresses excitement for returning to golf in the two taped segments that each last approximately five minutes. He also admits to being nervous about how he'll be received when he tees it up at Augusta National.

April 5-11, 2010

Woods makes his return to competitive golf at the Masters. He participates in his first press conference since the accident on the Monday before the tournament starts. On Thursday, he receives a warm reception from the Augusta National crowd before striping an opening tee shot down the middle of the fairway that is shown live on ESPN before the network shifts back to its regular programming. Woods goes out in 33 and posts a 68 to put himself among the leaders. His hole out for eagle on the par-4 seventh (left), keeps him in contention on Sunday, but he fades down the stretch to finish in a very respectable tie for fourth place.

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April 29-May 9, 2010Those who think the golf world will return to order now that Woods is back get a rude awakening when he misses the cut at Quail Hollow by eight shots and then plays poorly again at the Players Championship before withdrawing during the final round (left) due to a neck injury. Tests don't reveal any serious damage, but it has already become apparent that this isn't going to be a typically dominant Woods year.

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May 11, 2010

Just one day after Woods' withdrawal at TPC Sawgrass, where he routinely hit uncharacteristically bad shots, including a popped up 3-wood off the tee that went all of 190 yards, Hank Haney (above, left) resigns as Tiger's swing coach. The two had worked together since 2005, a period that produced six major championships and 32 wins on the PGA Tour, despite Woods having to miss substantial time due to a knee injury. Woods says the two parted amicably and that he has no immediate plans to work with another instructor.

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June 17-20, 2010

Tiger's second major, the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, produces another fourth-place tie. In what turns out to be the highlight of his year, the golfer summons a vintage Woods performance during the back nine of the third round. Seemingly out of contention, he fires a brilliant 31 (NBC analyst Johnny Miller remarks that it may be the finest nine holes of his career), including a birdie on 18, which is set up by a cut 3-wood from behind a tree and 260 yards out (left) on the finishing hole to 20 feet. However, with his historic 15-shot win on the same course a distant memory, the inconsistency shows up again on Sunday when Woods three-putts the opening hole and is never a factor.

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July 15-18, 2010Woods arrives at another major championship venue that he has owned -- St. Andrews -- for the British Open. He makes more news by going away from the Titleist putter he's used for more than 12 years and instead, putting a Nike Method (left) in his bag. An opening 67 has him in contention, but after two lackluster rounds, the putter experiment ends and Woods can only manage a tie for 19th place at a course where he had previously won two claret jugs in two attempts.

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August 5-8, 2010

On a course and at an event he has thoroughly dominated in the past, Woods hits an all-time low in terms of playing performance at the Bridgestone Invitational. Woods shot over par in all four rounds and closed with a 77 to finish 18-over par and in second-to-last place in the elite field of 80 players. Woods had previously been 103 under in 40 career rounds and set a PGA Tour record by winning the event for a seventh time the year before.

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August 12-15, 2010

At the year's final major championship, Woods makes more news for who he's working with than how he's playing. Three months after splitting up with Hank Haney, Woods is seen working with 35-year-old Canadian Sean Foley (left) for much of the week. Neither Woods nor Foley, who also works with Hunter Mahan and Justin Rose among others, confirm the new partnership, but it becomes official soon after.

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August 23, 2010

What's been rumored for months finally becomes official as Tiger and his wife Elin file for divorce after being married since October of 2004. The two announce the split through a joint statement in which they say, "We wish each other the very best for the future," and their children's "happiness, has been, and will always be, of paramount importance to both of us."

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September 12, 2010After winning the previous two FedEx Cup Playoffs in which he had played, Tiger is eliminated in the third of four postseason events. Tiger finishes a respectable T-15 at the BMW Championship, but it's not enough to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship. There are some encouraging signs on the course, but his game is still a long way off from a year before, when he won the tournament by eight shots on his way to hoisting the FedEx Cup trophy.

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October 1-3, 2010

After not qualifying for the Ryder Cup based on points for the first time in his career, Woods arrives in Wales as a captain's pick. He certainly doesn't hurt the U.S. cause, tying for a team-high three points, though it isn't enough for the Americans to retain the trophy in the biennial event with Europe. Tiger teams with Steve Stricker to go 2-1 over the first three days and then dusts Francesco Molinari 4&3 in singles (left), blistering Celtic Manor by shooting nine-under-par through 15 holes.

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Bumped From The Top

For the first time since March of 2005, Woods is replaced as the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Rankings in October 2010. Lee Westwood ends a record-long streak of 281 weeks on top of the ranking for Tiger, who had broken his previous mark of 264 weeks set from 1999-2004. Martin Kaymer and finally Luke Donald would also hold the top spot during the 2011 season, as Woods plummeted out of the top 50.

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November 9, 2010Woods arrives in Australia to defend his title at the Australian Masters with much less fanfare than when he touched down 12 months prior. Whereas the event was sold out six weeks in advance in 2009, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that tickets for this year's tournament can be purchased as the gate. Woods also arrives with a much different aura having not won a single tournament in 2010. Amid the drought, however, the 14-time major champion remains confident and positive -- at least on the outside. "I'm going to go out there and give it my best, and I'll try and make sure I give myself every opportunity to win this event," Woods said at his pre-tournament press conference. "If it happens, it happens. It if doesn't, it doesn't. That doesn't change my commitment to getting better."

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