It is hard to ignore the fact that Eldrick “Tiger” Woods is well on his way to becoming arguably the greatest golfer of all time (yes, Jack Nicklaus deserves this title as well). Tiger’s 2007 campaign on the Professional Golf Association Tour might not equal his performance in 2000, in which he won three of the four major tournaments including his U.S. Open victory at Pebble Beach by a staggering 15 strokes, but it stands alone as the most memorable year of his illustrious career.

The 31-year-old Woods claimed seven victories on tour for the fourth time in a single year in his career. No other player in history has accomplished this feat. While finishing second at the Masters and U.S. Open – his only major championship win came in August at the PGA Championship held at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla., Tiger is now a mere five major championship titles away from tying Nicklaus’s record of 18 career major championship victories. His 61 career wins on tour land him fifth in the record books behind the likes of Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead, all of whom rank among the game’s all-time greats. Tiger matched his scoring average record, previously set during the 2000 season, at 67.79 strokes per round. In his last six starts on tour, Woods posted a total of 19 rounds (out of the 24 rounds he completed) with a score in the 60’s, including 11 straight rounds shooting 70 or better.

Woods won two out of the four “playoff” events, culminating in his Tour Championship victory at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga., where he was awarded the inaugural FedEx Cup as tour champion. He has earned over $10 million in prize money through 16 total events this year. His final two scheduled events this year include this week’s President’s Cup at The Royal Montreal Golf Club in Montreal, Canada, and hosting of the Target World Challenge from Dec. 13-18.

Woods received the distinguishing honor of being named the most “now” athlete by ESPN over the summer, which combined his success on the course with the publicity and buzz he receives off the course. Tiger is one of the most recognizable figures in sports, due in large part to the numerous commercials in which he is featured. His partnership with Electronic Arts produces the “Tiger Woods” video game series, which continues to be a top-selling collection of golf software on the market.

Tiger’s brightest moment, however, came on June 18 with the birth of his first child, daughter Sam Alexis Woods. For a man whose personal life has been highly publicized, with his marriage to Elin Nordegren and the loss of his father Earl in May of last year, Woods was proud to announce the birth of his daughter to the press. Woods has become a figure in the public eye who knows how to effectively work with the media. He is always seen smiling after every round of golf, good or bad, and is more than willing to talk to the press. He is undoubtedly the most revered and respected golfer on tour and has a unique presence both on and off the course.

In all ways, Tiger Woods is a consummate professional. His work ethic is second to none. Whenever Woods is not on the course, he is on the practice range perfecting his game. The time and effort he puts into working on the range pays dividends on the course, as Woods is prepared both physically and mentally for every tournament. Tiger’s grit and mental toughness are evident in the staggering fact that he rarely loses when leading a tournament in its final round. He holds an impressive 40-3 record when leading after three rounds in PGA Tour events. In major championships, Woods is a perfect 13-0 when holding a 54-hole lead. He knows how to close the deal on the course, finishing each and every job with precision and class.

In a career and life-defining year, Tiger Woods continues to perform at the highest level, captivating audiences and fans with his superior talent and admirable charm. For Tiger Woods the golfer and Tiger Woods the man, life is now better than ever.

Harmand is a member of the class of 2010.

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