Tiger Woods completed one of the sport’s greatest comebacks to end 11-year major title drought at the Masters on Sunday by claiming a fifth Green Jacket. A gritty two-under 70 clinched a one-shot victory over Dustin Johnson, Brooks Keopka and Xander Schauffele earning the 43-year-old a 15th major title that many thought would never come and instantly renewed talk of a run at Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18.
Tiger Woods wins 2019 Masters at Augusta to claim 15th major
Not since the 2008 U.S. Open had Woods hoisted a major trophy while the last of his four Augusta titles came in 2005, his fifth Green Jacket leaving him one short of another Nicklaus record
But after a beaming Woods slipped on his fifth Green Jacket, he will be aware that Sunday’s win has brought him invitingly close to another Nicklaus record – that of six Augusta titles.
The victory also marked the first time Woods had reached the winner’s circle at major without leading after 54 holes and broke Gary Player’s record (13 years) for the longest gap between Masters wins.
It also gave him 81 PGA Tour titles, one away from the career record held by Sam Snead.
Woods’s girlfriend Erica Herman, mother Kultida and two children Sam and Charlie watched while a massive gallery roared as he marched up to the 18th green to put the finishing touches on a milestone victory.
When his final tap in bogey putt disappeared into the cup, Woods delivered one of his trademark fist pumps and then raised both arms in the air while screaming in absolute delight as the crowd chanted, “Tiger, Tiger, Tiger”.
He then quickly spotted his family and raced over to hug his children before making his way to the scorers room while being congratulated by his fellow golfers who lined the way.
“I was just trying to plod my way along the golf course all day,” said Woods. “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 he won his first Masters) and now I’m the dad with two kids there.”
Along with coping with a number of injuries over the past decade, Woods also had to deal with the damage done from a very public and scandalous divorce and an embarrassing DUI arrest.
Woods’s return to the top garnered praise from world leaders and sporting greats alike, with United States president Donald Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama both offering congratulations via social media. “Congratulations to @TigerWoods,” tweeted Trump, who earlier this year played golf with Woods. “A truly Great Champion!”
Nicklaus, 23-times tennis grand slam winner Serena Williams, Super Bowl champion Tom Brady also applauded the victory on Twitter while swimmer Michael Phelps, the winner of a record 23 Olympic gold medals, was at Augusta National to cheer Woods on.
Woods said, “I had serious doubts after what transpired a couple of years ago, I could barely walk. I couldn’t sit. Couldn’t lay down. I really couldn’t do much of anything. Luckily I had the procedure on my back, which gave me a chance at having a normal life. To have the opportunity to come back like this it is probably one of the biggest wins I’ve ever had for sure because of it.”