Tiger Woods Wins His First Masters

Tiger Woods, whose father is African-American and mother is Thai, becomes the first person of color to win the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, which admitted its first black member in 1990.

Eldrick “Tiger” Woods was born December 30, 1975, in Cypress, California. A golf prodigy, Woods began swinging a club at age two and went on to win three U.S. Junior Amateurs followed by three straight U.S. Amateur championships. After playing for Stanford University, he turned pro in August 1996 and that season was named the PGA Rookie of the Year. On April 13, 1997, Woods, then 21, won his first major tournament, the Masters at Augusta National in Georgia. Woods’ 72-hole score, an amazing 18-under-par 270, was the lowest in the tournament history and shattered a record of 271 shared by Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd. Additionally, Woods, who defeated Tom Kite by a record-setting margin of 12 strokes, became the youngest person to don the green sport coat given to each year’s Masters victor, as well as the first winner of African or Asian descent.

Augusta National opened in 1933 and hosted the first Masters tournament, one of pro golf’s four major championships, in 1934. In 1975, Lee Elder became the first black golfer to compete in the Masters. The club had no African-American members until 1990 and today still has no female members, although women can play at Augusta as the guest of a member.

Today, Tiger Woods, who went on to win the Masters again in 2001, 2002 and 2005, is considered one of the greatest golfers in the history of the sport, and he is extraordinarily well-compensated for his work: In 2006, he was the highest paid athlete in all professional sports. At the end of the decade, Woods’ performance fluctuated as he struggled with a torn ACL and personal problems that garnered substantial media attention: In late 2009, in the wake of events surrounding a car accident outside his Florida home, several women came forward claiming to have had affairs with the famous golfer. Woods’ wife of six years, Elin Nordegren, divorced him in August 2010, just as he began his first winless season in his career.

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