Sunday, April 14, 2019
AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Fourteen years. Think about what’s happened in your life in 14 years. Think about what’s happened in the world in 14 years.
Three presidents. Countless advances in technology. iPads. iPhones. Android. Social media’s infancy.
And now add another. Tiger Woods, for the first time since 2005, is your Masters champion.
We all should have seen it coming. In fact, it was an oddly prescient possibility starting on Thursday after Woods headed into the clubhouse shooting 70.
You see, for his first three Masters victories, Woods shot for 70 on the first round. Obviously, it happened again.
In fact, it was something Woods mentioned after finishing up on Thursday, so he had to have known things were looking up for him even as the field above him was playing well.
Tiger played in the hunt for nearly the entirety of the weekend. A missed shot here, a bogey there, and we could be looking at a completely different man wearing the green jacket on Sunday.
"There were so many different scenarios that could have transpired on that back nine," Woods said. "There were so many guys that had a chance to win. Leaderboard was absolutely packed and everyone was playing well. You couldn't have had more drama than we all had out there, and now I know why I'm balding. This stuff is hard."
Tiger ended the day 13 under par after battling for the lead with guys like Francesco Molinari, Brooks Koepka, and Xander Schauffele.
"It hasn't sunk in at all," Woods said. "This is one of those things, it's going to take a little bit of time, and I'm just fresh off of just winning the tournament, and I just can't wait to see how it all unfolded from the TV perspective, because I know I was grinding hard trying to chase Francesco today, and then all of a sudden the leader board flipped and there were a bunch of guys up there who had a chance to win."
Championships always come with images you never forget. For many who watched on Sunday, the image of Tiger greeting his children, Sam and Charlie, after the sweetest victory of his life will be itched in their minds. It brings up memories of a young Tiger Woods in 1997, greeting his father for the first time after his first Masters victory.
"My dad's no longer here, but my mom's here, 22 years later, and I happen to win the tournament; and then to have both Sam and Charlie here, they were there at the British Open last year when I had the lead on that back nine, and I made a few mistakes, cost myself a chance to win The Open title," Woods said. "I wasn't going to let that happen to them twice, and so for them to see what it's like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope that's something they will never forget."
Go ahead, call it a comeback
The story of Tiger Woods has been amplified in the past several years. A divorce. An arrest. Countless amounts of missed opportunities at major victories. It fueled a cottage industry of sports analysts quick to call the champion a "has-been" or "washed up." Even the word "retirement" was brought up endlessly.
It seems everyone's doubt that Tiger would ever be the same served no one after Sunday's victory.
But yes, even Tiger doubted himself.
"I had serious doubts after what transpired a couple years ago. I could barely walk. I couldn't sit. Couldn't lay down. I really couldn't do much of anything," Woods said. "Luckily I had the procedure on my back, which gave me a chance at having a normal life. But then all of a sudden, I realized I could actually swing a golf club again. I felt if I could somehow piece this together that I still had the hands to do it. The body's not the same as it was a long time ago, but I still have good hands.
So that certainly has helped, and I pieced it together, and next thing you know, if you look at it, my first 14 wins in majors were always -- I had the lead in every one of them, or tied for the lead. To have the opportunity to come back like this, you know, it is probably one of the biggest wins I've ever had for sure because of it."
Today, Tiger will savor that victory because sometimes things are never promised. But Tiger did promise one thing.
"I'm not going to hit a golf ball tomorrow," Woods said.