Just beginning to recover from a debilitating back injury, Tiger Woods can only look from a distance back in the days when he swept through PGA tours, nary missing a putt or a fist pump. While his recent play at the Hero World Challenge could spark a comeback, the 41-year-old has tallied 14 major tournament championships, most of which came in his 20s, when, on the fairways, his famous red shirt was effectively synonymous with winning.
But to hear Woods tell it, he peaked long before he ever became a household name. According to the golfer’s new interview with Lorne Rubenstein for Time, Woods peaked when his game, grades, and girlfriend made him the neatest kiddo in the sixth grade:
[When] I first started playing, I was a little kid, say, in the nine and unders, and 11 and under, there was nobody there, but I still want to kick your butt. That never changed. Then people started to take notice of those wins. But I had been doing it since I was very little. By the time I was 11 years old, I had already won 113 tournaments. I peaked at 11, to be honest with you. I went 36 and 0 that year, never lost a tournament, all in California. And I probably had the cutest girlfriend in all of sixth grade. And I had straight As. No A-minuses. They were all perfect A’s. I peaked [then, and] I’ve been trying to get back to that since.
Good to know that Woods has a rational perspective on one of the most successful professional careers of all time.