Golf great Tiger Woods was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Wednesday — an anticipated conclusion since the moment he made his professional debut in 1996. The 46-year-old 15-time major winner was introduced by his daughter, Sam. In his acceptance speech, Woods talked about his journey to becoming the best in the world and thanked his family and the people who helped him along the way.
“I know that golf is an individual sport,” Woods said. “We do things on our own a lot for hours on end, but in my case, I didn’t get here alone. I had unbelievable parents, mentors, friends, who allowed me and supported me in the toughest times, the darkest of times, and celebrated the highest of times.”
Woods was a child prodigy at three; he attended Stanford University and starred on the collegiate golf team as the best player in the country. He won three straight U.S. Amateur titles.
He won his first major title at age 21, becoming the youngest Masters champion ever, and winning by the largest margin in tournament history. Three years later, he won the U.S. Open, British Open and the PGA Championship (his second), then added the 2001 Masters to become the only person to ever hold all four professional major titles at one time.
He was ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for a record 683 weeks. He’s amassed 107 worldwide wins, and is tied with Sam Snead with a record 82 PGA Tour victories. He’s considered by many to be the greatest golfer of all time — at worst, second-best behind Jack Nicklaus.
Woods last won in 2019, claiming his fifth Masters title and 15th major, and the ZOZO Championship, the PGA first official event in Japan, for his tour record 82nd victory.
In the interim, he suffered serious injuries to his right leg and right foot in a car wreck near Los Angeles on Feb. 23, 2021. He underwent multiple surgeries and almost lost his leg. In his Hall of Fame introduction, his daughter Sam referenced that low point.
“Recently, Dad had to train harder than ever,” Sam Woods said during her introduction speech. “About a year ago you were stuck in a hospital bed at one of your ultimate lows and one of the scariest moments of your life and ours. We didn’t know if you’d come home with two legs or not. Now, not only are you about to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but you’re standing here on your own two feet.”
Woods’ son, Charlie, has become quite a prolific golfer himself. In 2020, Tiger and Charlie competed in the PNC Championship and finished seventh. They competed again last year, following heavy rehab after Tiger’s accident, and finished second.
Tiger’s play in that event showed he could still compete, and the elder Woods plans to tee it up again, but no clear timeline has been established. Whenever he tees it up again, it will be the final few holes of a legendary career.
Golf will always be a major part of his life, whether guiding his son Charlie, or golf course design through TGR Design.
At the height of his career, he was arguably the most popular athlete in the world and he made golf cool. Ratings soared through the roof; television contracts and endorsements on the PGA Tour ballooned. His presence diversified the game at the recreational and amateur levels like never before. The PGA has been chasing that high ever since.
More news from our sponsors: