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Tiger Woods and Red Shirts: How One of Golf's Best Traditions Began

Other than Fred Durst's backward New York Yankees fitted cap that he dawned in the early 2000s with Limp Bizkit, the only other person to rock the color red consistently over the years has been none other than 15-time major champion Tiger Woods, who was seeking another Masters Championship win this weekend at Augusta before withdrawing because of a foot injury.

Before we go on, take a second and reflect — Woods certainly does wear that red Nike polo often, doesn't he? Tiger's tradition of wearing red on championship Sunday is about as iconic as the Yankee pinstripes. 

The story behind the red is quite interesting, as his mom has a lot to do with it.

Why Tiger Woods Wears Red on Sundays

Tiger Woods wearing red.

Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Tiger wearing red goes all the way back to his amateur days. He was given advice from his mother, Kultida Woods, who suggested that red is his "power color."

"I've worn red ever since my college days basically, or junior golf days - big events on the last day," Woods said, via Bunkered.

"I just stuck with it out of superstition, and it worked. I just happened to choose a school [Stanford] that actually was red, and we wore red on our final day of events. So it worked out."

"I wear red on Sundays because my mom thinks that is my power color," he continued. "You know, you should always listen to your mom."

In other interviews, Woods has also expressed that in Thailand, where his mother is from, Sunday's color is red, and people there wear certain colors based on the day of the week. 

Photo by Mike Fiala/Newsmakers

Woods' affinity for red has rubbed off on other pros, too. Patrick Reed, a fellow Masters winner, has worn it as a tribute to Woods, who he's claimed was his childhood hero. Several golfers, including Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, also wore it at the 2021 WGC-Workday Championship after Woods was in that brutal car crash in 2021 which almost resulted in him losing his leg.

"It is hard to explain how touching today was when I turned on the TV and saw all the red shirts," Tiger wrote on Twitter afterwards. "To every golfer and every fan, you are truly helping me get through this tough time."

Over 500 days later, he would go on to play in the Masters and shoot a 71 in the opening round.

Tiger Woods' 79 Winning Red Shirts

Tiger Woods celebrates after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia.

Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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During his illustrious career, Woods has garnered 82 wins, including five Masters. 

In a study done by ESPN, red and red-adjacent colors correlate strongly to Woods' wins. As the study points out, Woods was wearing the following colors during his wins:

  • 30 wins wearing dark red.
  • 27 wins wearing light red.
  • 22 wins wearing burgundy.
  • Two wins wearing black.
  • One win wearing white. 

Ironically, in Woods' first-ever win, which came in Vegas in 1996, he was wearing White. That was the only time he's won while wearing white. 

The study also found that of his 15 major victories, he wore dark red nine times, burgundy four times, and light red twice. Woods has won over $31.5 million while wearing light red (it's time for me to buy some light red shirts, it seems).

The color red is so prominent within the PGA TOUR that during the 2006 PGA Championship, Luke Donald, who used to be the No. 1 player in the world, said, "I knew I was playing with Tiger [on Sunday]. I think if I changed my outfit, it was almost like giving in to him already on the first hole. ... I wasn't trying to make a statement. I thought if I changed, I'd have already lost."

Unfortunately, we won't be seeing Tiger Woods wearing red on Sunday at the 2023 Masters, but the 47-year-old will be back in red soon enough.

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