Tiger Woods 40 Biggest Moments: No. 19 – 1996 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of Year


Over 40 days, is rolling out Tiger Woods’ 40 biggest moments. Our ranking started on Nov. 21 and will culminate on Dec. 30, which is Tiger’s 40th birthday. That’s 40 Tiger moments. In 40 days. Ranked. Click here to learn more about our list.

Tiger’s 40 Biggest Moments: No. 19 – The 1996 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year

“He will transcend this game and bring to this world a humanitarianism which it has never known before.”

OK, so maybe not.

But he sure did make a splash on the sporting scene.

As evidence: those weighty words from his father, Earl Woods, as quoted in a Tiger profile by Gary Smith that ran in Sports Illustrated in 1996.

Remember that issue? The one with Tiger on the cover? Revealing him as SI’s Sportsman of the Year?

It was no small honor. It added Tiger to a roster of Sportsman of the Year recipients that dated back to 1954 and included the likes Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Muhammad Ali.

And Woods had just turned pro, too.

The recognition—and the accompanying profile—heightened the hubbub around Tiger, who already walked amid a swirl of expectations, none loftier than those laid down by his own dad.

In Smith’s piece, Earl Woods went on to hail his son as the “Chosen One” and predicted that he’d have the “power to impact nations. Not people. Nations.”

No pressure, Tiger.

On the course, at least, he pretty much lived up to his father’s pledges.

In 2000, Sports Illustrated honored him again as Sportsman of the Year, the only athlete ever to earn the award twice.

Check back on every day until Tiger’s birthday on Dec. 30 for a new moment in our TIGER@40 countdown.

No. 20: Return from Scandal at 2010 Masters

No. 21: Winning Third Straight U.S. Amateur Title

No. 22: The Apology Press Conference

No. 23: Shot from Fairway Bunker at 2000 Canadian Open

No. 24: Passes Nicklaus in Career PGA Tour Wins

No. 25: Signs First Deal With Nike

No. 26: Knee Surgery After 2008 U.S. Open

No. 27: Winning Back-to-Back Masters

No. 28: Launching the Tiger Woods Foundation

No. 29: Becoming a Father for the First Time

No. 30: Ugly Breakup With Steve Williams

No. 31: First U.S. Amateur Win at TPC Sawgrass

No. 32: Wire-to-Wire British Open Win at St. Andrews in 2005

No. 33: Relationship With Lindsey Vonn

No. 34: Third Straight U.S. Junior Am Title

No. 35: A Shot in the Dark at Firestone

No. 36: Television Debut at Age 2

No. 37: Breakup with Hank Haney After Six Years

No. 38: Disastrous 2004 Ryder Cup Pairing with Phil Mickelson

No. 39: Beats Stephen Ames 9&8 in 2006 Cadillac Match Play

No. 40: Wins 2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational with Dramatic Putt

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