Tiger Woods: 20 years of iconic images

Updated 11:12 AM ET, Thu April 6, 2017

(CNN)

Twenty years have slid by since Tiger Woods set out on his era-defining journey with that first record-breaking Masters win at the age of 21.
Since 1997, he's amassed 14 major titles and 79 PGA Tour wins, against the backdrop of a very public divorce and a catalog of injuries.
Ongoing battles with back problems mean Woods won't take to the tee at Augusta this week. Despite his absence, the American's impact on one of golf's most prestigious events in undeniable.
Throughout his career, he's been the subject of images that have become iconic -- burned into the memories of sports fans as well as the people who captured golf history in the making.
Below, photographers from Getty Images select their favorite pictures and tell us what makes them so special.

Major breakthrough, 1997

Woods won his first major with a record 12-shot victory at the Masters in 1997, announcing his arrival at the top of the game.
David Cannon: "I shot this picture using a remote camera clamped to the infamous -- now removed -- photographers' tower beside the 18th green, while shooting Tiger 'tight' at the same time with a 400mm lens from that great vantage point. I had witnessed probably the most astonishing performance by a young golfer in history. Tiger had annihilated the field in one of his most dominant displays of golf. This was the new world superstar announcing himself to the world of sport, let alone golf."
Defending champion Nick Faldo helps the 21-year-old Woods into the green jacket.
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Cannon: "I suppose the most striking memory I have of this moment is that it was Nick Faldo's last as a current major champion. He was handing the coveted green jacket over to a man who was to dominate golf like nobody before. In fact, here was a superstar being born who went on to transform the modern game of golf. I don't imagine that anyone present that warm April evening could possibly imagine how significant this moment was going to become."

Height of his powers

Woods hits a drive from the helipad of the Burj Al Arab during a trip to Dubai in 2004.
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Cannon: "This is still one of my most exciting assignments. This shoot, around one of the world's most iconic buildings with the world's most recognizable sportsman, summed up Tiger and his global reach.
"Along with the CNN news coverage, I remember reading somewhere at the time that this was the single most successful PR shoot in sport. It was so successful because the PR crossed over so well with the editorial story, the location and Tiger.
"The story I would have loved to have told at the time was that he was desperately trying to hit one of his drives into the helicopter as we circled around him!
"In fact, he reminded me of this recently when he landed back on the helipad on the Tuesday of the 2017 Dubai Desert Classic. With a very cheeky smile, he said, 'hey buddy, the last time I was up here I was trying to hit you.' He was such a story everywhere he went."

Masters magic

Woods chips in from off the 16th green on the way to winning his fourth green jacket in 2005.
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Harry How: "Tiger was at the top of his game but following him around Augusta National is problematic as we don't have 'inside the rope' access. I remember hustling to the green and politely squeezing my way through crowds to get to my position in a sweaty mess.
"Most people remember the roar that followed but it's the long silence, when the ball hung on the edge of the cup, that I remember most.
"I like how Steve [Williams] and Tiger come together for the photo in the small area of the green where there is still light and how clumsy their emotional, unrehearsed high five is."

Tiger's tears

An emotional Woods wins the 2006 British Open at Hoylake, his first major title since the death of his father Earl.
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Ross Kinnaird: "It was the first major after the passing of Earl Woods, Tiger's father. It must have been a strange week for Tiger not having his 'Pops' around or on the end of a telephone line. You would not have guessed it from the defending champions' golf that week. It was a peerless and controlled golf all four rounds. After the final putt had dropped Tiger and caddie Steve Williams held a long embrace on the green. We don't know what was said between them but as they left the 18th Steve's gesture gave us all a clue. That win was for his dad."

End of an era?

Playing with a serious leg injury, Woods forces a playoff in the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines. It's the most recent of Woods' 14 major titles.