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Tiger Woods is one of the most fiercely competitive golfers in the world.
From his cold demeanor on the course, relentless work ethic, and desire to do nothing else but win, there are endless stories about Woods’ insane competitiveness.
Woods is back in the spotlight this week as he is in contention at The Open for the first time in years. Relive some of the greatest examples of Woods’ competitiveness below:
When Woods was 14 he said he could be the Michael Jordan of golf.
He has practiced before and after competitive rounds: He was spotted playing in the dark at the 2011 PGA Championship.
- Nike Golf
Source: Nike Golf
He used to have a crazy, non-stop daily routine.
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Woods recently revealed what his daily routine was when he was younger:
“I used to get up in the morning, run four miles. Then I’d go to the gym, do my lift. Then I’d hit balls for two to three hours, I’d go play, come back, work on my short game, I’d go run another four more miles, and then if anyone wanted to play basketball or tennis, I would go play basketball or tennis. That was a daily routine. I’m not doing any of that now.”
He’s obsessed with working out — even in the middle of the night.
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Rory McIlroy said he used to receive texts from Tiger at 4 am saying he couldn’t sleep, so he would go lift.
His former coach claims that he injured himself doing insane, Olympic-style weightlifting exercises to get stronger.
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He played with a broken leg and torn ACL at the 2008 US Open and won.
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Woods was not known be very friendly on the golf course during his prime, making plenty of rivals throughout his career.
He once fired an iconic death stare at his ex-caddie Steve Williams after their messy breakup.
Phil Mickelson has been one of Tiger’s top rivals, though it appears the two are now friendlier than ever.
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When Woods and Mickelson played a practice round together before the 2018 Masters, it was so surreal that McIlroy actually told Tiger, “I never thought I’d see the day: Tiger and Phil playing a practice round at Augusta.”
Of course, he still had to have some fun afterward, saying Mickelson’s button-down golf shirt was missing a tie.
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Though he has rivalries, he also sends tough love toward other golfers. He once gave McIlroy some odd motivation before a tournament.
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“He told me to get my finger out of my a** and win this week.”
Source: Jason Sobel/ESPN
Tiger hates losing — in all sports.
Tiger’s caddie Joe LaCava said he once beat Tiger nine times in a row at HORSE, and Tiger wouldn’t talk to him the rest of the day.
He refuses to give an edge any competition, even ping pong.
Jack Nicklaus recently told a story about watching Tiger and Mickelson play ping pong. When Mickelson won a round after switching sides, Tiger refused to keep playing.
“Phil says, ‘Hey Tiger, how about a game of ping pong?’ ‘Sure, let’s play.’ So Tiger plays, and Tiger wins the first game. They play another one, Tiger wins the second game.
“Phil says ‘I’ve got this buffet behind me… let’s switch ends.’ They switch ends, Phil wins.
“Phil says ‘OK, come on Tiger, let’s play one more.’
“Tiger says ‘Phil, two to one.’ And he never played him again the rest of the week.”
Source: For the Win
He doesn’t take it easy on anyone, including his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn. She said he won every time they played ping pong or tennis.
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Source: USA Today
He felt guilty about using an air tank while spearfishing, so he learned to free dive without one.
Source: OC Register
He loves a good challenge.
Pro golfer Maverick McNealy told a story about Tiger accepting a challenge to hit a building in a canyon with a golf ball. He did it in two tries, then did it again.
“Tiger hits one. And he’s like, ‘Oh, it’s about 10 yards right.’ My dad said, ‘Yeah, 50 yards short of anything.’ And he had a little house, a little roof, way down there [in the canyon]. And Tiger was like, ‘Give me another ball.’ So he gets another ball, tees it up, hits it and says, ‘That’s right on it.’
“And it’s a dead quiet, dead still evening. And the ball’s going, going, going. Then I hear, bam! Right off the roof. And so we all run inside, giggling and laughing. The roof had to have been 400 yards out there and 50 feet, maybe more, dropped down into a canyon valley. And Tiger says, ‘Oh, I’m going to do that again.’ So he gets out, puts another ball down, rips it. And bam! Rips it off the roof again. We said, ‘OK, we’re done. We’re done.'”
He changed his swing in 2002 after winning eight majors because it wasn’t perfect enough.
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He has since changed his swing several times, leading to some criticism from those in the golf world.
He loved the military, so he reportedly tried to join the Navy SEALs.
- Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
In his book, “The Big Miss,” ex-coach Hank Haney claimed that Tiger was obsessed with the military.
Not only did he go on six excursions at Navy SEAL “kill houses,” he seriously considering trying to join the SEALs before his agent talked him out of it.
In 2000 he took a gamble and switched to a solid-core ball that no one else was using. Two years later, the entire tour was using it.
In the 12 months after he changed balls, he won nine tournaments and all four majors.
He doesn’t joke around on the course.
Once, at the Masters, when Mickelson watched his rival [Tiger] hit a three-wood past his driver, he asked Woods if he always hit fairway woods so far.
“No,” said Woods, pulling his tee from the ground before marching down the fairway, “Sometimes further.”
Source: Fox Sports
His numerous comebacks from injuries prove how hard-working he is.
Upon returning to golf in 2015 after an injury, Woods said:
“Competing is still the same. I’m trying to beat everybody out there. That hasn’t changed. I prepare to win and expect to go and do that… The only difference is that I won the Masters when Jordan [Spieth] was still in diapers.”
This quote about why he plays golf sums it up.
- Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Source: Golf Channel
Now check out how Tiger lives his life off the course.
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