AUGUSTA, Ga. – It was only a matter of time for Tiger Woods.
He knew he could win big again as soon as he knew he was physically able to play golf again, and he won big Sunday at Augusta National.
It could have happened at Carnoustie or Bellerive, but it didn’t.
It happened Sunday at the Masters and now Woods is right back where he started here in 1997 – On top of the world with a green jacket on his shoulders and no end to his greatness in sight.
“This has meant so much to me and my family, this tournament, and to have everyone here, it’s something I’ll never, ever forget,” Woods said.
No one who watched up close or from home will ever forget where they were on this day, perhaps the most dramatic ever at Augusta National.
It was Woods’ 15th career major victory, first in 11 years and first ever without a lead to start the final round.
It was definitely worth the wait.
The anticipatory roars as Woods’ tee shot at the par-3 16h tracked closer and closer to the hole, the fans jumping up and down to get a momentary glimpse.
The look in Woods’ eyes and the sound of his driver as he boomed it down the 17th fairway, confident and in control of his own destiny.
The endless roars as he approached the 18th green. The pure joy and celebration that followed.
“We did it,” Woods told caddie Joe LaCava after he tapped in for bogey to win by one shot at 13 under.
“No, you did it,” LaCava said…
Tiger Makes His Move, Goes Low Saturday with 5-under 67 at Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. – At the Champions Dinner two years ago, Tiger Woods told a few of his green-jacket sporting colleagues that he was done.
He told them he didn’t think golf “was in his near future, or even in my distant future.” What else was he to think, for he was bedridden for much of his time in those dark days, forced to take a nerve blocker to attend the special ceremony at Augusta National Golf Club in 2017.
But these are different times, and at 5:42 p.m. on the East coast Saturday, Woods was tied for the lead in the third round, setting up a Masters Sunday that should make Hollywood envious.
In a lavender mock turtleneck, Woods loudly moved to 11 under through 54 holes with a 5-under 67 and will play in the final group on the final day alongside Tony Finau and nemesis and 2018 British Open champion Francesco Molinari, who is two shots clear of his playing partners.
A stout collection of talent is lurking, including three-time major winner Brooks Koepka, major champions Dustin Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen and past Players champions Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar.
But Woods, the biggest name of all, is in the mix again, and what seemed impossible two years ago is improbably possible. At 43 and in his 22nd Masters, after four surgeries to his back and four to his left knee, Woods has a bona fide chance to win a major again.
What Tiger Woods Said After Shooting 70 in the Masters Thursday
Augusta, GA – Tiger Woods showed plenty of roar during Round 1 of the Masters Thursday, crushing drives down the fairway and displaying plenty of flare from Augusta National’s crushed-marble bunkers and its “second cut.”
He even held a share of the lead at 3-under on the back nine before a bogey on 17 knocked on him into a tie for second with nine others.
Despite that late slip, Woods was upbeat after his round.
His 70 mirrors the 70 he scored in the first round back in 1997. And while no one expects Woods to finish at 18-under this time, he did show plenty of game and appears physically ready to make a run this weekend.
It was the putter that betrayed Woods Thursday within 10 feet. Otherwise, he would have finished 18 with the lead.
Here is some of what he had to say afterward to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi and during his post-round press conference: