The most thrilling comeback in American sports history. Tiger Woods, at the age of 43, has won the 2019 Masters at Augusta for the first time since 2005.
The Augusta National Golf Club is where Tiger Woods, 22 years ago, first burst into the sports world, like no one we had seen before: golf’s first black superstar, a player who everyone figured would rewrite his sport’s record book. He won by a dozen strokes that day in 1997, as a 21-year-old, and that was just the beginning. By the time he was 32, Woods had won 14 major championships, even taking four in a row. He gave a fans a reason to stay in on Sundays, and watch men walk on grass and swing at a little white ball.
Fast forward to the making of an epic win, Woods and one of his playing partners in the final group, Francesco Molinari, would go shot for shot down the stretch. But on the 15th hole Molinari, last year’s British Open champion, hit a shot in the water, essentially knocking him out of the tournament. Woods stuck his tee shot on 16, giving him another birdie and more breathing room. Brooks Koepka — winner of three majors since 2017, and playing in the group ahead of Woods — could have cut Woods’ lead to a single stroke on 18, but he missed a make-able birdie putt. All Woods needed was a bogey 5 on 18 to clinch it.
Tiger had been inching towards his moment. He contended in the last two majors, which enabled him to refresh his memory of how to win one: stay calm, keep on and let the other guys make mistakes.
When he tapped in the winning putt, for his 15th career major, Woods screamed and flipped his club. He hugged his son Charlie and daughter Sam, who was about to turn one. Woods grew hoarse from all his cheering, and rightfully so, he refused to hide his emotions.
“I had serious doubts after what transpired a couple years ago,” Woods explained. “I could barely walk. I couldn’t sit, couldn’t lay down. I really couldn’t do much of anything. This is just unreal, to be honest with you. 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.”
Twenty-three time Grand Slam tennis champion Serena Williams joined in to congratulate Woods on his victory.
I am literally in tears watching @TigerWoods this is Greatness like no other. Knowing all you have been through physically to come back and do what you just did today? Wow Congrats a million times! I am so inspired thank you buddy.— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) April 14, 2019
Former LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant also sent his praise.
The victory is a major comeback for Woods who faced a series of setbacks in his personal and professional life. This inspiring win has shown the unique powers of redemption that sport offers to anybody willing to work hard enough for it.