Highs of the Tiger – a look back at Woods’ career in major championships

Wednesday marks the 25th anniversary of Tiger Woods’ first major title at the 1997 Masters.

Woods won by 12 strokes at Augusta to kick-start a stellar career which has brought him 15 grand slam titles and saw him hold all four concurrently in 2001.

Here, the PA news agency looks back over Woods’ career in the majors.

Master of all he surveyed

Tiger Woods celebrates his first major win at the 1997 Masters
Tiger Woods won his first major at the 1997 Masters (Amy Sancetta/AP)

Woods’ first major win began inauspiciously as he turned in 40, four over par – but a six-under back nine including an eagle at the 15th left him fourth after the opening day.

He hit the front with a second-round 66, this time eagling the 13th, and followed that up with seven birdies in a third round of 65 to take a commanding nine-stroke lead at 15 under.

Two bogeys left him only level par for the front nine in round four but he birdied the 11th, 13th and 14th holes to finish 12 shots clear of runner-up Tom Kite.

Chasing Nicklaus

Tiger Woods acknowledges the crowd at Augusta on Sunday
Woods completed all four rounds in Augusta just over a year after a near-fatal car crash (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Returning to Augusta in 2022 to play his first competitive event since last year’s near-fatal car crash, Woods made the cut comfortably on one under par and was still two over through 51 of the 72 holes.

However, a bogey-bogey-double bogey finish to his third round resulted in the first of back-to-back 78s over the weekend, leaving him 13 over and 47th of 52 finishers.

He therefore remains one behind Jack Nicklaus’ record of six Masters wins but stands alone in second both with five titles at Augusta and 15 total majors – Nicklaus again out in front with 18.

Woods has four wins at the US PGA Championship and three each at the Open Championship and US Open.

Tiger slam

Tiger Woods, right, receives his Masters green jacket from Vijay Singh in 2001
Tiger Woods, right, completed his ‘Tiger Slam’ at the 2001 Masters (Doug Mills/AP)

Woods’ 2001 Masters success saw him hold all four majors simultaneously, having won the US Open, the Open and the US PGA the previous year.

The “Tiger Slam” was part of a run of five wins in six major tournaments, also including the 1999 US PGA, and seven out of 11 as he added the Masters and US Open in 2002.

He is the only player to hold all four majors at once, with Nicklaus coming up just short when he won the US PGA in 1971 and the Masters and US Open in 1972 but then finished second at the Open, one stroke behind champion Lee Trevino.

Ben Hogan won a “triple crown” of the Masters, US Open and Open Championship in 1953 but did not play the US PGA, while Gary Player and Gene Sarazen are the only other men to have claimed all four majors during their careers.

The list of women’s majors has changed over time and currently numbers five, with Inbee Park having won all five – though her Evian Championship success came before it was elevated to major status.

Australian Karrie Webb won five events recognised by the LPGA as majors while Pat Bradley, Juli Inkster, Annika Sorenstam, Louise Suggs and Mickey Wright won all four available to them.

Record margin

Tiger Woods: winning margins at major championships
Tiger Woods has set records for winning margins in majors, but some of his most memorable victories came in play-offs (PA graphic)

Woods’ 15-stroke win in the 2000 US Open is a record for any major and saw him finish as the only player under par, with nearest challengers Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez three over.

He also shares third place on that list thanks to his maiden win at Augusta. Old Tom Morris won the 1862 Open Championship by 13 strokes and his son, Young Tom Morris, by 12 in 1870 – though those records came in fields of eight and 20 players respectively.

At the other end of the scale, Woods has two single-stroke wins at the 1999 US PGA Championship and the 2019 Masters – and has won three majors in play-offs.

The most memorable came at the 2008 US Open, when he defied an anterior cruciate ligament injury and stress fracture of his left tibia to beat Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole play-off – which remarkably required a sudden-death 19th hole.