Tiger at 40: Woods' career-defining moments (2009-2015)


In a three-part feature to mark Tiger Woods' 40th birthday, we have identified 40 standout moments - good and bad - from the 14-time major champion's illustrious career.

Part three looks back on the last seven years, in which Woods still enjoyed some success, but failed to add to his major haul amid injury troubles and scandalous revelations about his private life.


August 16, 2009 - Tiger loses his remarkable record of winning every major he has led after 54 holes, as the unheralded Y. E. Yang pulls off a stunning win at Hazeltine. Woods was four ahead at the halfway stage and remained two clear heading into the final round, only for Yang to hit the front on Sunday before sealing victory with a remarkable approach to the 18th.


November 27, 2009 - The sporting world is shocked when news emerges of Woods crashing his car into a fire hydrant and tree outside his Florida home. The world's leading golfer thankfully escapes with minor injuries, but questions are raised over the events leading up to the incident. Two weeks later, amid growing speculation and allegations of affairs, Woods admits to "infidelity" and announces he will take an indefinite break from professional golf to tackle issues in his private life.


February 19, 2010 - Speaking publicly for the first time since the aforementioned scandal erupted, a tearful Woods issues a frank apology for cheating on his wife, Elin Nordegren. In a lengthy televised statement, he said: "I was unfaithful, I had affairs and I cheated. What I did was unacceptable. I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don't know when that day will be."


April 8, 2010 - Woods makes a much-anticipated comeback at the Masters and finishes in a tie for fourth as Phil Mickelson triumphs.


May 10, 2010 - Another high-profile split with a coach occurs as Hank Haney, who had worked with Tiger since 2004, announces a parting of the ways between the two. Six of Woods' 14 majors came with Haney as his coach.


August 15, 2010 - Tiger's decline is illustrated as, for the first time in his career, he fails to automatically qualify for the United States Ryder Cup team. Woods is duly named as a captain's pick by Corey Pavin and claims three points from four matches, striking up an encouraging partnership with Steve Stricker.


July 20, 2011 - Having missed the U.S. Open and Open Championship due to injury, Woods fires long-time caddie Steve Williams, the man on the bag for 13 of his 14 major wins. Williams reacted with disappointment and was at the centre of controversy later in the year over comments about Woods that the New Zealander subsequently admitted "could be construed as racist".


July 1, 2012 - A month on from winning the Memorial Tournament, hosted by Jack Nicklaus, for the fifth time to draw level with the Golden Bear on 73 PGA Tour victories, Woods moves into outright second on the all-time list with success in the AT&T Championship at Congressional. Woods has since taken his tally of PGA Tour wins to 79, putting him three behind Sam Snead.


April 12-13, 2013 - Woods' hopes of ending his major drought go up in smoke amid a controversial penalty at Augusta. The four-time Masters champion is firmly in contention when his third shot to the 15th in round two hits the flagstick and bounces back into a pond in front of the green. Tiger takes a drop, but subsequently acknowledges he moved "two yards further back" before doing so, in violation of the rules. He avoids disqualification, to the displeasure of many, but receives a two-shot penalty the following morning and is unable to regain momentum as he finishes in a tie for fourth.


April 1, 2014 - After claiming five PGA Tour titles in 2013 - and regaining the number one ranking - Woods announces he will miss the Masters for the first time since turning professional, after undergoing a microdiscectomy on a pinched nerve in his back.


June 6, 2015 - Having slumped down the world rankings due to a combination of injuries and a dramatic loss of form, Tiger cards the worst score of his professional career to date - a 13-over-par 85 in the third round of the Memorial.


December 1, 2015 - At the end of a year that saw him miss the cut in three successive majors, an unusually candid Woods acknowledges he is unsure when he will be able to play again, following a third procedure on his back. "For my 20 years out here, I think I've achieved a lot," said Woods. "And if that's all it entails, then I've had a pretty good run. But I'm hoping that's not it. I'm hoping that I can get back out here and compete against these guys. I really do miss it."