As an amateur, Tiger Woods was an accommodating signer. While at Stanford, Woods signed for fans and signed all of his fan mail. Few people watched him play and even fewer asked for his autograph. The more recognition he gained, the more desirable his autograph became. Woods' signature has evolved through the years into the eloquent signature it is today. As a teen, Woods' signature featured a stand alone upper case "T" followed by the rest of his first name. His last name, an impeccable, "Woods" with every letter readable, including the double "oo"s. As demand for his signature increased, Woods retained the stand alone "T" but instead of spelling out the rest of his first and last name, the rest of his first name would flow into his "W" where he ends with a small case "d". As Woods reached elite status, Upper Deck signed the star, offering everything from autographed flags to photos. The lone exception has been golf balls. While Woods has signed them in the past, he stopped the practice when he went pro in August, 1996. A few recent examples have surfaced since then, but they are a rare find.
Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods (December 30, 1975-) was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by his Western High School graduating class in 1994 and went on to become the most recognizable athlete on the face of the Earth by the time he turned 21. Woods made his first national appearance on television at the age of 3 in 1978 when he famously putted against legendary comedian Bob Hope on The Mike Douglas Show. A precursor of what was to come! Tiger tore through the amateur ranks winning the U.S. Junior Amateur Championships three times (the event’s only three time winner), won the U.S. Amateur Championship three times and won the 1996 NCAA Championship with Stanford University. Woods turned pro in August of 1996, finished in the Top Ten five times in 13 tournaments and won the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational shooting -27 and defeating Davis Love III in a playoff. He also won the Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic and was named the 1996 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. Tiger then proceeded to tear up the PGA Tour winning four tournaments in 1997 including The Masters, one tournament in 1998, eight tournaments in 1999 including the PGA Championship and nine tournaments in 2000 including the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. And so on. From 1997-2012, Woods won ten PGA Player and Tour Player of the Year Awards, won the PGA Tour money title nine times, was the Byron Nelson Award winner nine times and the Vardon Trophy winner eight times and twice won the FedEx Championship. He has posted 106 career professional wins including 79 PGA Tour victories, posted 40 European Tour wins and has 14 career Major victories under his belt, second only to Jack Nicklaus. Quite literally, Tiger and Jack are arguably, the greatest two golfers of all times as amateur golfers and fans have disputed this since Woods turned pro.
Tiger has produced some of the most memorable shots in PGA Tour history as his amazing career, unlike Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan, has played out before millions of fans on television and via the Internet. Bobby Jones was the last PGA Tour player to win the Grand Slam, each of the four Major championships in a calendar year. However, in 2001, Tiger Woods completed what is known as the “Tiger Slam”, as he held all four Major titles at the same time – the 2000 U.S. Open, the 2000 Open Championship, the 2000 PGA Championship and the 2001 Masters Championship. From August 1999 to September 2004 and June 2005 to October 2010, Tiger held the Number 1 Player in the World Ranking, streaks of 264 and 281 consecutive weeks at the top, respectively. He holds the record of most consecutive weeks and most total number of weeks as World Number 1. In 2009, Tiger’s career took a downturn as marital infidelities became public and nagging knee injuries took their toll on the high-powered golf’s body and game. After a year hiatus from the PGA Tour due to surgery and other issues, Woods returned to the game, struggling to find his game for more than two years, but finally won after 107 weeks at the Chevron World Challenge in November of 2011. Debates continue to linger whether Woods will ever pass Jack Nicklaus’ Major championship record of 18, as Tiger stands at 14 and time will tell.