Woods's father, Earl, says his son first struck a golf ball when he was only nine months old. Tiger has been working to improve his swing ever since. Here are the key moments in the development of Woods's swing mechanics and his age when they occurred.
AGE 4: Rudy Duran, the pro at Heartwell Golf Course and Tiger's first instructor, shortens his pupil's backswing and emphasizes balance.
AGE 6: Tiger switches from a 10-finger baseball grip to an interlocking grip, which, unlike most touring pros, he uses to this day.
AGE 10: Now under the tutelage of John Anselmo, an instructor at Los Alamitos, Tiger works on holding his finish. He is allowed to swing as hard as possible—as long as he maintains his balance.
AGE 13: After a growth spurt—he went from 5'4" to 5'10" in a year—Tiger raises his swing plane about a foot, making it more upright.
AGE 16: Tiger makes his PGA Tour debut, in the L.A. Open, after fixing a fault-excessive cupping of the left wrist at the top of his backswing—the year before.
AGE 17: Now working with Butch Harmon, Tiger eliminates a closed club face at the top of his backswing by widening his stance, shortening his backswingand restricting his hip turn.
AGE 18: Tiger gets unstuck (his arms occasionally drop behind his body on the downswing) by learning to match his arm speed with his body speed, allowing the path of the club to shape the shot.
AGE 20: By pumping iron, Tiger builds up his forearms, giving him more control during his tremendously fast release.
AGE 22: Tiger weakens his grip by turning his left hand counterclockwise, which minimizes hand action through the hitting area.