His potential seemed unlimited, especially when he won 2 titles and finished in the top 10 five times out of his first 8 Professional Golf Association tour events. In 1997, at the age of 21, Woods became the youngest player ever to win the Masters (by the largest margin in a major championship in this century), and the first person of African or Asian descent to win a major golf championship. That year, his first full year on the tour, Woods was chosen as the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and ESPN Male Athlete of the Year and became the youngest player ever to hold the No. 1 ranking in professional golf.
Nothingnot even an unbelievably lucrative endorsement portfolioforetold what would happen in 1999, when Woods's success reached heights never before imagined. With his victory at the American Express Championship on November 7, in Valderrama, Spain, Woods became the first golfer in 25 years to win 8 PGA tour events in one season (including the PGA Championships). He also shattered the previous single season winnings record by nearly $3 million, making him the first player ever to break the $6 million mark with $6.6 million.
True to form, Woods only got better in 2000, when he capped off an impressive first half of the year by winning his third major, the 2000 U.S. Open, in Pebble Beach,... [continues]
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