I love happy endings… especially this one. I’ve always had a soft spot for Tiger Woods through all his tribulations. He has not won a Masters Tournament since 2005… his dad passed in 2006. But today, that all changed. Tiger came roaring back to win the 83rd Masters Tournament in an astounding comeback after 14 years without a green jacket. Today was a very good day for Tiger and everyone who loves golf.
Woods, 43, shot a 2-under par 70 to win his first green jacket since 2005 and his first major since the 2008 U.S. Open. His 13-under 275 was enough to defeat Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffle, and Brooks Koepeka by one stroke. But this Sunday was filled with drama that ended approximately four-and-a-half hours early after tee times were moved ahead due to the threat of severe weather.
This is Tiger’s fifth Masters championship and his 15th major title. Only the great Jack Nicklaus leads him in both categories. Somewhere up there, Tiger’s dad is smiling with pride that his son finally came back to the sport he loves so much and conquered it once again. This was Tiger’s 81st victory on the PGA Tour. Only Sam Snead leads him on that score and he leads by one, so it is safe to say that Tiger will break that record as well. It was also the first time Tiger had won one of golf’s four major championships when not entering the final round with at least a share of the lead.
“It fits!” Woods quipped after 2018 champion Patrick Reed slipped the traditional winner’s garment over his shoulders in Butler Cabin. This was a far more quiet setting than the 18th green had been a few minutes before as Woods clinched the title with a short bogey putt.
Congratulations to @TigerWoods., a truly Great Champion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2019
“WOOOOOOO!!!” Woods screamed as he made his way towards the scoring room with chants of “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!” echoing as loud as any of the roars on the back nine at Augusta National. He scooped up his 10-year-old son Charlie, born a year after that dramatic victory on Father’s Day weekend at Torrey Pines. He hugged his mother and then his 11-year-old daughter Sam, and everyone else in his camp that stood by him through a public divorce and an embarrassing DUI arrest from a concoction of painkillers and surgeries.
“To have my kids there, it’s come full circle,” Woods told CBS during the post-round interview. “You know, my dad was here in ’97 and now, I’m the dad with two kids there.” Tiger’s dad was there as well, I have no doubt.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 14, 2019
President Trump congratulated Woods in a stream of tweets during the final holes of the round, urging the country to ‘tune in’ and watch. “Love people who are great under pressure. What a fantastic life comeback for a really great guy!” wrote Trump, who has played recreational rounds of golf with Woods in the past. Woods has defended Trump as well.
From Fox News:
“Woods began the day in a tie for second with Tony Finau two shots back of Francesco Molinari, the defending British Open champion with nerves so steady that entering Sunday, the Italian had not bogeyed any hole since the 11th on Thursday.
“But Molinari’s nerves and shotmaking skills failed him on the back nine Sunday. Holding a two-shot lead on the 12th tee, Molinari watched helplessly as his tee shot rolled off the green and into Rae’s Creek. A double bogey was not enough to drop Molinari from contention, but the veneer of invincibility had cracked.
“That was the cue for a roller coaster ride at the top of the leaderboard. Six players had a share of the lead at some point on the second nine. With the final trio of Woods, Molinari and Tony Finau in the 15th fairway, five players were tied at the top.
“If what happened at 12 was tragedy, what happened to Molinari at 15 was a farce. Playing conservatively to avoid the water after an errant tee shot on the par-5, Molinari found himself with what should have been a simple third shot onto the green. But he hit his wedge fat, popping the ball up into the air, off a nearby tree and into the water. He double-bogeyed the hole to drop out of a share of the lead and out of contention.
“On the same hole, Woods made a two-putt birdie-4 to take the outright lead for the first time. He secured his advantage at the par-3 16 by sticking an 8-iron within 2 feet of the cup for another birdie and a two-stroke lead.
“In the end, three-time major winner Koepka had a chance to put pressure on Woods at the last, but he pulled a birdie putt left of the 18th hole to give Tiger all the cushion he needed.”
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) April 14, 2019
Before Saturday, it had been 11 years since Woods won a major title. That was when he beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff for the 2008 US Open despite a double stress fracture and knee injury which prompted season-ending surgery.
And it is just two years since he told Jack Nicklaus, “I’m done,” during the Champions Dinner at Augusta National, after which he flew straight to London to see the consultant who recommended he undergo what proved to be career-saving spinal fusion surgery.
In an interview with CBS after his win, Woods called the tournament, “One of the hardest that I’ve ever had to win, just because of what has transpired over the past couple of years in trying to come back and play.”
While I feel for those who did not win, I cannot help but truly celebrate this win for Tiger. He worked hard for it and if anyone ever deserved that green jacket again it was Tiger Woods.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 14, 2019