Tiger Woods went through several highs and lows in 2008, a year during which he was the top-ranked golfer in the world. On the downside he underwent two knee operations that limited him to just seven tournaments that year. He won five of those events, including a major championship, and finished in the top five in the other two tournaments. Woods earned almost $7 million in prize money during his brief 2008 golf season.
Woods opened 2008 by winning the Buick Invitational, played at Torrey Pines Golf Club, for the fourth consecutive time. He shot a 19-under-par 269 to win by eight strokes over Ryuji Imada. Woods earned $936,000 for the victory.
Dubai Desert Classic
Woods entered the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic trailing leader Ernie Els by four strokes. He birdied six holes on the back nine, including five of the last seven, to win the event with a 14-under 274, one shot better than Martin Kaymer. Woods was tied with Els on the final hole, but sank a 25-foot birdie putt to take the lead. Els eventually fell to third. Woods earned 1.7 million euros -- about $1.15 million -- for winning the European Tour event.
Accenture Match Play Championship
Woods defeated Stewart Cink 8 and 7 in the final round of the 36-hole Accenture Match Play Championship on Feb. 24. Woods won the event for the third time and gained his fourth consecutive PGA Tour victory. He also passed Arnold Palmer for fourth place on the tour’s all-time victory list, while picking up a $1.35 million first prize.
Arnold Palmer Invitational
Woods wrapped up his fifth straight PGA Tour victory by holing a 24-foot birdie putt on the final green for a one-shot victory over Bart Bryant at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 16. Woods finished with a 10-under-par 270 and earned $1.044 million for the victory. He then placed fifth at the CA Championship, breaking his PGA Tour winning streak. His 15-under-par 273 left him two shots behind winner Geoff Ogilvy and earned Woods his smallest tournament payday of the year, $285,000. He shot a 5-under 283 at the Masters in April but was three strokes shy of champion Trevor Timmelman, earning $810,000.
Woods underwent his first operation of the year, an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee, after the Masters. He returned in time for June’s U.S. Open, also played at Torrey Pines. Woods sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the final regulation hole to tie Rocco Mediate at 283, 1 under par.
Both players shot even-par 71 in the 18-hole playoff, with Woods again scoring a birdie on the final hole.
Woods parred the first sudden death playoff hole and Mediate missed a 20-foot putt for par. The win gave Woods his third U.S. Open title and his 14th major championship. It was also his 65th PGA Tour victory, moving him to third on the list of the most winning PGA golfers. Woods earned $1.35 million in this, his final tournament of the year. He had reconstructive surgery on his left knee shortly after the Open and didn’t compete again until 2009.