By Jonathan Copping, Lawyer, Stone King, London, UK
Tiger Woods completed a remarkable sporting comeback in winning one of golf’s majors by capturing the Masters at Augusta, Georgia, US, last week. It is the fifth time Woods has been presented with the Green Jacket; his first win coming in 1997 and his most recent win coming in 2005.
At the turn of the century, Woods was the leading golfer by a significant margin. In 2000, he captured three of the four majors, with a further major to follow in 2001 and another two in 2002, meaning that, in a three-year period, he had won half of all the majors played.
Woods went on to win multiple more majors in the 2000s, taking his total major wins to 14 by 2008. During this time, Woods signed significant sponsorship deals with a number of major companies, including Nike, American Express, General Motors and Accenture. He also spent a record 264 consecutive weeks as world number one between 15 August 1999 and 4 September 2004, which was subsequently broken by his record of 281 weeks between 12 June 2005 and 30 October 2010.
In 2009, the seemingly unstoppable Woods became the subject of a story in the National Enquirer that alleged he was involved in an extramarital affair with a manager of a New York nightclub. Woods denied the allegation; however, in the following days, media speculation continued that Woods had been involved in extramarital affairs. Woods admitted that he had been involved in such affairs; however, over the coming days, more than a dozen women stated that they had been involved romantically with Woods, whilst he was married. Finally, on 11 December 2009, Woods confirmed that he had been involved in a number of affairs and announced that he was going to take an indefinite break from golf.
The revelation on these affairs led to a number of the companies Woods had endorsement deals with to drop him, including Accenture and General Motors.
Woods returned to golf in 2010 and played all four majors, tying fourth at the first two majors of 2010. Between 2011 and 2016, Woods best result at a major was a tied third at The Open Championship in 2012. He became world number one again for 60 weeks between 25 March 2013 and 17 May 2014.
However, in 2014, Woods started to complain of back pain, and, in September 2015, he had back surgery and missed all four majors in 2016 and 2017, whilst he was recovering from the surgery. He played only a handful of tournaments in 2017.
He finally returned to the PGA tour in 2018 and achieved some excellent results, including winning the season-ending Tour Championships. He has continued his excellent form through to the 2019 season, capturing the Masters as his fifteenth major.
This is a remarkable personal and sporting achievement and, in particular, has brought joy to investors in Nike, who have stuck with him throughout his trials and tribulations.
It has long been Woods’ ambition to break Jack Nicklaus’s record of winning 18 golf majors. At the age of 43, playing in his current form, that appears to be an achievement within his grasp!
Jonathan Copping may be contacted by e-mail at ‘JonathanCopping@stoneking.co.uk’