It is hard to describe what Tiger Woods just accomplished Sunday afternoon at Augusta National.
Some are calling it “A Cinderella story”, “the Greatest Sporting Comeback” and “Inspirational” but I was left speechless at how calm and cool he was to win his fifth green jacket and 15th
major title. I never thought the day would come for him to win another major, especially a Masters but i'm glad I stayed up all night to watch what I deam 'The Greatest Sporting Comeback'.
The day started off a bit strange. As round three was coming to a close on Saturday we heard that a thunder storm was forecasted to hit Augusta Sunday afternoon. Instead of the usual Sunday afternoon pairings a decision was made to move the final round to the morning with groups of 3’s on a 2 tee start.
To get a sense of accomplishment you need to watch Woods’ whole final round. He never paniced and was always in control of his shots and swing. Through this article I am going to share as many videos as I can because it really shows you what Woods did was amazing.
(If you can't find or watch the final round here are some of his best highlights)
I did not want overnight leader Francesco Molinari to choke and nor did I think he was going to as he was rock solid for the first three days and on the first nine. I knew if Woods wanted to win he had to beat him and Molinari looked hard to beat. He made putts inside 10 feet to save par and he didn’t look like he was going to drop a shot.
The changing point of the tournament was the 12th
hole. This is where it all unfolded for the chasing pack of Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter, Tony Finau and leader Molinari. The 12th
is a “short” par 3, 155 yards with water at the front. There are bunkers short middle and long middle and the green is shaped like a kidney. The pin was tucked in the middle far right side of the green for the final day and both Koepka and Poulter hit it in the water. The commentators could not believe their eyes as both were 12 yards short of their landing positions. From the tee the flag was still and so was the water in front. It was like the ball hit a wall of wind. Both walked away with a double bogey which killed Poulter’s chance and he knew it.
Then it was Woods, Finau and Molinari's turn. Molinari was first to tee off. He'd just hit an amazing iron shot into eleven and then it looked like he tried to “smooth” one onto the green but it came up short, water! This was when Woods experience was starting to show. Instead of attacking the pin, Woods went to split the bunkers and hit his ball into the fat part of the green. Finau took the same line as Molinari and he too ended up in the water. That was 4 balls in the water in the final 2 groups. All except Woods had a double bogey and Woods was right back in it tied for the lead. It was like the sees parted and allowed Woods to walk right in. But it was still tied at the top. Molinari had dropped back to Tigers score and the lead was now -11.
From here challenges came and went.
Patrick Cantlay had an eagle on the 15th
hole which gave him solo lead at 12 under but he went on to bogey the 16th
and he was out of contention.
Xander Schauffele had birdies on the 13th
hole but needed one more on the 15th
par 5 but failed after a wayward drive and his charge was over as he finished at 12 under for the tournament.
The man who could have made it interesting for Woods was Koepka. After the double on the 12th
hole it looked like all was lost but Koepka or iceman just kept on playing. He went on to eagle the 13th
which gave him back the 2 shots he lost the hole before and then took advantage of the next par 5, the 15th
adding another birdie. He missed solid birdie chances on both the 17th
which all but handed the tournament to Woods.
Over the years we have watched Woods leverage the two par 5’s on the back nine on his way to victory and today was no different. He birdied the 13th
hole with two 2 putt birdies and then hit a dream shot into the 16th
for a 2 foot birdie tap in. Woods had a 2 stroke lead heading into the 17th
hole. The rest is pretty much history but he didn’t have to do much more than a bogey on the last hole to claim his first major in 11 years.
What made it even more special at the end was that Woods’ family — his mother, Tida, girlfriend Erica Herman, and two children, Sam and Charlie were all there waiting for him to walk off the 18th
green. It was 22 years ago when Woods himself walked off the 18th
green straight into his old man’s arms and to see Woods walk off the green again but to have Charlie his son embrace him was emotional.
22 years ago, Tiger walks off the green after winning his first Masters straight into his dad's arms and today his son Charlie got to share that same experience with Woods.
Tiger Woods winning interview with the press
Tiger Woods' Interview In Butler Cabin
Brooks Koepka's Final Round Interview