On Sunday, Tiger Woods did what most thought impossible – he won the Masters for his first major title since the 2008 US Open. In the period between major championships, the highly publicized life of Woods has been tumultuous. From the scandals of his affairs and DUI arrest to his four back surgeries, it seemed his competitive golf career was over. Despite the adversity, Woods was able to claim his fifth green jacket, and first since 2005.
After getting spinal fusion surgery in early 2017, Woods couldn’t walk, let alone swing a club. However, by December of 2017, Woods was able to make his return to professional golf. The 2018 season was up and down for Woods.
He showed signs of his former self, but was unable to close out golf tournaments like he had done in the past. Despite holding the lead on the 10th hole of the final round at the Open Championship, he faded away on the back nine to finish in 6th place.
Then, at the PGA Championship, Woods finished in 2nd place, two strokes behind eventual champion Brooks Koepka. In the final event of the season, the Tour Championship, Woods finally proved to the world, and himself, that he could beat the best in the world by claiming the title.
On Sunday in Augusta, Woods trailed reigning Open Champion Francesco Molinari by two strokes. Also in the trailing pack were other top names in golf, including Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau and Dustin Johnson. Backed by the patrons, Woods was able to outlast the others, winning by one stroke.
One of Woods’ most notable highlights was a near ace on the 16th hole that eventually led to birdie. As he tapped in a one foot putt on the 18th green, the scene was pandemonium. He threw his hands in the air before embracing his son and daughter, both of whom had never seen their father on top of the golfing world.
Woods’ victory was record setting in many ways. The fourteen years between victories in 2005 and 2019 set a new record for the gap between winning the Masters. The victory was Woods’ 15th major, moving him one closer to Jack Nicklaus’s record 18. Furthermore, it was his 81st PGA Tour title, now only one behind the record holder Sam Snead. Interestingly, it was also the first time Woods won a major without the 54 hole lead. With the victory, Woods moved up to 6th in the Official World Golf Rankings.