Factbox: The life and golf career of Tiger Woods

Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:58am EDT

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(Reuters) - Golfer Tiger Woods, who took a break from the game in December after admitting he cheated on his wife, said on Tuesday he will return to professional golf in early April at the U.S. Masters tournament.

Here are the key facts in Woods' life and career:

MAKING HIS NAME

* Born in Cypress, California on December 30, 1975. His full name is Eldrick Tont Woods.

* A child prodigy, he won three consecutive U.S. junior titles and three successive U.S. amateur championships before turning professional in late 1996.

* Ended that year with PGA Tour victories at the Las Vegas Invitational and Walt Disney Classic.

EARLY MAJOR IMPACT

* Became the youngest Masters winner with a tournament record aggregate of 18-under-par 270 at Augusta National in 1997. His victory margin of 12 shots was the biggest in the tournament's history.

* After a lean spell in 1998, when he revamped his swing with coach Butch Harmon, Woods won eight titles in a golden run on the 1999 PGA tour, including his second major at the PGA Championship where he held off a charging Sergio Garcia.

* In 2000, Woods produced one of the most successful seasons in golfing history. Romped to victory by a record 15 strokes in the U.S. Open, coasted home by eight shots in the British Open and claimed his second PGA Championship.

* Became the fifth and youngest player to win a career grand slam of all four majors. Ended the year with nine titles on the PGA Tour, having completed his sixth in a row at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February.

* Woods won his second Masters crown in 2001 to become the first player to hold all four professional major titles at the same time.

LOSES NUMBER ONE RANKING

* Over the next four years, Woods piled up four more major victories after embarking on the second revamp of his swing since turning professional.

* He broke Greg Norman's record for most weeks as world number one with a combined tally of 332 but his five-year reign at the top finally ended in September 2004 when Fijian Vijay Singh took over.

GLOBAL DOMINANCE

* In 2005, Woods won his fourth Masters title, a second British Open and reclaimed the world number one ranking in June, which he has held ever since.

* Suffered an emotional 2006, having to deal with the illness and death in May of his father Earl before winning the last two majors of the year, the British Open and the PGA Championship. Ended that season with 11 titles worldwide, including six in a row on the PGA Tour.

* Clinched his fourth PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in 2007 and finished second at the 2008 Masters before undergoing knee surgery two days later.

KNEE PAIN

* In his first tournament back after an eight-week break, he defied stabbing knee pain and a double stress fracture of his left tibia to win his 14th major title with a playoff victory over fellow American Rocco Mediate in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

* Woods then shut down his 2008 campaign to have reconstructive knee surgery.

COMPETITIVE RETURN

* Returned to competitive golf at the WGC-Match Play Championship in Arizona in February 2009.

* Missed the cut in a major for the second time as a professional at the British Open and lost for the first time while leading a major into the final round at the U.S. PGA Championship when he was overtaken by South Korea's Yang Yong-eun.

* Still won six PGA Tour titles, was unbeaten for the U.S. at the President's Cup and won the year-ending Fed-Ex Cup and the Australian Masters.

CAR CRASH

* Was taken to hospital after he crashed his car into a fire hydrant and tree in the early hours of November 27, 2009. Wife Elin Nordegren was said to have smashed the car's back window with a golf club to get him out of the car.

* Issued with a ticket for the accident, although U.S. media began reporting he and Nordegren had been arguing prior to the crash.

* On December 1, he withdrew from the Chevron World Challenge, a tournament he hosts to benefit his charitable foundation, citing injuries from the crash as media speculation began to swirl about his personal life.

* Said on December 2 he "had let his family down" after reports of extra-marital affairs with several women emerged.

* Issued a statement on his website on December 11 that he had committed infidelity and was taking an "indefinite break" from golf.

THERAPY

* On February 19, 2010, in his first public appearance since the scandal erupted, Woods made a formal apology before a small group of reporters that was carried live on U.S. television.

* "I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don't know when that day will be," he said. "I don't rule out that it will be this year."

* Woods said he had undergone 45 days of in-patient therapy for "guidance for the issues I'm facing" but did not elaborate. He said he had "a long way to go" in repairing his personal life and was returning to the treatment center.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes and Greg Stutchbury; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

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