Augusta, Georgia – April 14: Are you back? It’s been a popular question for Tiger Woods in recent times.
He seemed to answer the question last Fall with his 80th PGA TOUR win at The Tour Championship. But, somehow, the jury was still out. Was it an anomaly? Was he able to do it at one of the four great championships?
On Sunday the verdict was unanimous, Tiger Woods’ game was major level quality once again.
At age 43, one of the game’s greatest players added another amazing chapter to his legacy with a victory at The Masters.
Woods’ last major victory came in 2008. Since then the litany of troubles he has endured has become a well-recited record. Divorce, scandals, an arrest, surgeries. He seemed lost personally, let alone able to locate his game.
Eighteen months ago he was the 539th ranked player in the world. The same dynamo who once owned the #1 ranking for longer than anyone else in his prime.
But then came last year when he contended in the the final two major championships of the year; then claimed a trophy at East Lake. A Georgia win.
And there he was this year, just down the road in Augusta. Poised to make a charge on the back nine at a tournament he covets. One where he burst on to the major stage in 1997. One his hero, Jack Nicklaus, had dominated.
Until that point today, leader Francesco Molinari looked unflappable. Tiger, despite a tremendous lag putt to save par on the 9th and a scruffy bogey on the tenth, was not without fault. Would his 4th straight day with a bogey on the newly-lengthened 5th hole derail his efforts?
But Tiger, like
“I never give up, you always fight. Giving up is never in the equation,” Woods shared post round when asked about his back nine resolve.
It paid off.
An extraction from the trees on #11 for an unlikely par. A longer-than-he wanted par save on #12. All as his nearest rivals, Molinari, Koepka, Poulter, and Finau were tripped up by Rae’s Creek.
“There are so many scenarios that could have happened after twelve. I just had to hang in there,” noted Woods.
But he did more than that. Birdies on #13, #15, and a flirt with an ace on his way to another under par score on #16 pushed him ahead. It also made the sporting world perk up and wonder if
This, all in the same week that Woods was awarded the Ben Hogan Award from the Golf Writers’ Association of America recognizing his return to the game over exceptional circumstances.
“I Just Did It”
He carried a two-stroke lead into the final green. He took care to make no less than a bogey and literally roared in celebration after hugs from his mother and kids with his fifth green jacket secured. His -13 total better than those who had tried to the fill the
Prodded once again by the media afterward on the question of his return, Woods asserted that yes, he was back to his winning ways.
“Yes, I know I am, because I just did it.”
That said it all after yet another win for the ages. His first come from behind triump in a major.
Tiger Woods is the 83rd Masters Champion, to the delight of many.
And a question no more.
Canada’s Corey Conners, after having won the last spot in the
Top Of The Leaderboard
- Tiger Woods -13
- Dustin Johnson -12
- Xander Schaufelle -12
- Brooks Koepka -12
- Jason Day -11
- Webb Simpson -11
- Francesco Molinari -11
- Tony Finau -11
- John Rahm -10
- Patrick Cantlay -10
- Rickie Fowler -10