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Sportswoman of the Year

Artwork by Lauren Uram

"In 1996 Tiger Woods burst onto the PGA Tour with two victories and three other top-10 finishes in his first eight pro events, becoming an instant star and attracting a new wave of young fans. In 1997, the 21-year-old became the youngest player-and the first African-American-to win The Masters. It was an achievement for the ages. Nearly 50 years to the day after Jackie Robinson broke major league baseball's color barrier, Woods won at Augusta National, a club that no black man was allowed to join until six years ago, a tournament whose founder, Clifford Roberts, once said, 'As long as I'm alive, golfers will be white, and caddies will be black.' Woods won three 1997 PGA Tour events in addition to The Masters, and became the first player in history to earn more than $2 million in prize money in a season."

Text by Rick Reilly
Issue Date: December 23, 1996

In 1996 at the tender age of 20, Tiger Woods won his third consecutive U.S. Amateur title and the NCAA Championship at Stanford. On top of his amateur victories, Woods achieved unprecedented success in his pro golf debut. Woods shot in the 60s in 21 of his first 27 rounds, winning two PGA Tour events in his first two months on the Tour. Woods' presence doubled attendance and TV ratings, generating interest among a multicultural audience.

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