In one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history Tiger Woods has turned golf upside down and inside out again, winning another major after 11 years.
The turbulent and traumatic years were marked by a very messy divorce, prescription drug addiction and a resultant slump in form.
But the wait is over, as the Cape Times predicted on Friday. Woods is a major champion again. He came from two shots back going into yesterday’s final round to win his 15th major at the Masters at Augusta National last night. “I was just trying to plod my way along the golf course all day.
When I tapped the putt in, I don’t know what I did, but I know I screamed. To have my kids there – it’s come full circle.
My dad was here in 97 (when Woods won his first Masters) and now I’m the dad with two kids,” said Woods.
Woods, who began the final round two shots back of overnight leader Francesco Molinari, carded a 2-underpar 70 to finish one shot ahead of fellow Americans Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka. Woods now holds 15 majors, just three fewer than Jack Nicklaus.
The 43-year-old stayed calm on a thrilling final day, when several players, including 2018 Open champion Molinari, were very much in the hunt. But Woods used all of his experience and knowledge of one of his favourites courses to surge into the lead on the back nine and claim his fifth green jacket.
Going up the 18th hole he held a two-shot lead and was able to bogey the final, and 72nd hole, to win by a stroke. It was a triumph of will, guts, determination and passion. Woods had all but given up on the game two years ago after a fourth back surgery, but his desire to win again, and to try and surpass the record held by Nicklaus, never went away.
He won the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship at the end of last year and nearly bagged the FedEx Cup, signalling that he was over all the injuries. Woods was in the hunt from the first round, registering a 2-under-par 70 on Thursday and he followed that up with scores of 68 and 67. In yesterday’s final round he carded a stunning 2-underpar 70.
When the final putt dropped Woods gave a small first pump and then threw his arms in the air in triumph. He embraced his caddie, then playing partners Tony Finau and Molinari, and then hugged his children and his mom.
The “patrons” at Augusta chanted: “Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.”
Woods, pain-free and injury-free, will now very much be a favourite going into the year’s other three majors: the PGA Championship, Open and US Open.
In our leader on Friday, the Cape Times predicted how yesterday could be as joyous a moment for Woods, when at the age of 21, he turned golf upside down and inside out when he won the Masters in 1997.
“Congratulations, Tiger!” tweeted former US president Barack Obama yesterday. “To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit, and determination.”