Tiger Woods: Early Success and Early Sponsorships

Tiger Woods solidified his place in golf history in 1997 at the age of 21. That year, he won three PGA Tour events in addition to his first major. His victory at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia was by a record-breaking twelve strokes. This made him the youngest man and the first African American to do so. Two months later, he became the number one ranked golfer in the world. He accomplished it all within less than a year after going pro.

tiger woods

PHOTO CREDIT FLICKR

The fruits of his labor quickly paid off. Woods landed a number of endorsement deals, including one with Tudor later in 1997. Soon, he appeared in ads for a special edition of the brand’s Prince Chronograph, called the Tiger Prince. The model remained in production until 2002 and featured a notably bright color scheme.

Tiger and TAG Heuer

For the next decade, Woods’s career skyrocketed. He went on to win thirteen more majors and the PGA Player of the Year award ten times. In addition, he held his place as the top ranked golfer in the world. First from August 1999 to September 2004 and again from June 2005 to October 2010. In a relatively short time, he became one of the most successful, highest-paid, and popular athletes of the twenty-first century.

tiger woods

PHOTO CREDIT FLICKR

Woods watch allegiances shifted in the new millennium when he traded his partnership with Tudor for one with TAG Heuer. Together, they developed the world’s first professional golf watch, aptly named the TAG Heuer Professional Golf. Most players don’t wear their watches during play. However, this model came equipped with a number of features to accommodate golfers on the course. It featured a lightweight titanium design and additional shock absorbers to withstand the impact of a golf swing. Woods also became a fan and supporter of the brand’s popular Link model. In addition, the duo developed several other Tiger Woods Limited Edition models.

Personal Struggles

In 2009, the tide started to turn for Woods. Injury, marital, and infidelity issues rocked his world. He decided to announce he’d be taking a hiatus from the sport to tend to his personal life. As a result, a number of sponsors dropped him, including TAG Heuer in 2011. Interestingly, despite his personal issues, Rolex continued to see promise in the golf prodigy. They signed him on as an ambassador later in 2011.

tiger woods

PHOTO CREDIT WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Tiger Woods made a brief resurgence in 2013. After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, he regained his number one ranking and held it until May 2014. This made him the World Number One golfer for the greatest total number of weeks of any player in history. Still, the golf legend was grappling with divorce, arrest, and rehab while trying to keep his once burgeoning career afloat.

Comeback and Commitment to Rolex

However, Woods’ story isn’t over yet. In September 2018, back in Georgia where it all began, he made the comeback we’d all been waiting for. At the PGA Tour Championships, Woods took home his first win in five years. The victory marks his 80th PGA Tour title with an impressive eleven-under-par performance. He did so wearing none other than the Rolex Deepsea Reference 126660. Rolex has stood by Woods’ side through thick and thin. It’s only fitting he would have a Rolex by his side during his victorious return to the sport.

Check out other Profiles in Time, like Jordan Spieth

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