Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods golf career has taken a turn for worse over the past two years Getty Images

American golfer Tiger Woods has fallen out of the world's top 500 rankings for the first time since turning professional 20 years ago. The 40-year-old who has dominated the golfing landscape during his career has not played since the Wyndham Championship last August.

A combination of injuries and lack of form have played a role in the superstar's decline but this is a spectacular fall for a man who is considered one of the best golfers of all time. The American had undergone a back injury in April 2014 and September 2015.

Woods fell out of the top 100 for the first time in March 2015 and since then it has been a downward slide. He took part in the Masters last year, tying for the 17th place and then failed to make the cut at three other major tournaments of the year.

The latest rankings which were published last week saw him drop nine spots down to 508, something unbelievable to many who have followed him throughout his career. The last time he was outside the top 500 players in the world was on 4 July, 1996 when he was still an amateur. He turned professional shortly after that, with his performance taking him to 431 in the world.

Woods is one of the most successful golfers winning 14 majors just behind legendary Jack Nicklaus who has 18 to his name. He is arguably one of the most recognizable sportsmen in the world and reportedly one of the richest. In 2009 Forbes magazine confirmed that Woods was the world's first athlete to earn over a billion dollars in his career.