Tiger Woods Wins 2019 Masters, The GOAT is back
It was an overcast Sunday in Augusta.
There was torrential rain and wind lurking on the horizon; so much so that the tee times were pushed back to the early morning, breakfast time hour.
Threesomes with split tees were utilized.
The leaderboard was a jam-packed cornucopia of past major champions, bunched together, separated by no more than 2 shots for the entire stress-filled day.
And the age of 43 was hanging heavily on Tiger Woods muscular shoulders; along with the not-so-subtle whispers about whether he could or would ever win another major.
All this drama played out on the daunting Augusta National course that stretched, rose and fell in front of him with all its own not-so-subtle horrors.
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Then, over the course of 18 incredible, drama-filled holes of golf, wearing that signature final round red shirt and black slacks outfit that only he can pull off, Tiger turned the clock back all the way to those afore-mentioned glory days days when he dominated the game like no other player before or since. He summoned up a combination of shot-making artistry, tactical brilliance, local knowledge, experience fueled putting acumen with his unmatched will to win. By doing so, Tiger won his 5th green jacket, 15th major championship and 81st Tour title to cap a remarkable comeback from years of self-induced physical and emotional pain that threatened not only his golf game but his quality of life.
It would be easy to call this the most remarkable comeback in the history of the game, possibly of all the major sports. But that would do an injustice to Ben Hogan’s remarkable win at the US Open at Merion in 1950, a mere 16 months after a near-fatal head on car crash. Regardless, Tigers comeback victory is significant. Let’s leave the ranking to the historians.
Tiger Woods Wins the 2019 Masters
Whether it was chewing gum; or wiping the sweat off his face with his left arm. Whether it was reading each devilish putt’s nuances; or searching for and then finding an escape route from the several near disasters he put himself in off the tee.
No matter the situation, he, in his own words, “kept plodding along”.
He remained stoic. Composed. In control.
Let’s look at some significant pieces of information.
- There were 3 64’s Saturday. But nothing better than 67 Sunday.
- After eagle on 15 Cantley led at 13 under. He then bogeyed his next 2 holes.
- When Tiger got to his tee shot on15 he was tied with four players at 12 under. Molonari, Cantley, Koepka and Dustin Johnson.
- Tiger was 40th in driving accuracy.
- He was 1st in greens in regulation.
- 1stin Putts per GIR.
- He made 21 birdies. No doubles.
- By comparison Molinari made 17 birdies. Only 2 bogeys but 2 doubles.
- Only Schauffele made more birdies, with 25, but he bogeyed 11 times and had a double.
Here’s something that caught my eye. As his brilliant shot on 16 trundled to a stop 2 feet below the hole, the Bridgestone logo was in full view. Much like the moment in 2005 on the same hole when Tiger chipped in from off the green and the ball, Nike logo and all, teetered on the edge of the cup before dropping.
One Hole Likely Led to Victory
No hole exemplified his incredible tactical, “plodding” approach to the round and his knowledge of the course more than the 12th. At 11 under, tied with Koepka and Finau, trailing Molinari by 2 shots, he watched as all three took the wrong route and found Rae’s Creek and double bogeys that would derail their chances to win. Tiger instead took the “Nicklaus” route and deposited his ball left of the pin, between the back and front bunkers, some 40 feet from the cup. His 2-putt par would tie him for the lead for the first time. Birdies on 13, 15 and 16 would provide the cushion for his 2-putt bogey on 18 and the one-shot victory.
After his tap in on 18 for the win, we got to witness a never-before-seen Tiger moment of celebration. A sheer, unabashed smile on his face. His arms raised high, fists pumping in the air. His shouts of joy exploding around the 18th green. Hugs of celebration with his caddie, his family, his agent, and his friends. High fives on the way to the clubhouse. Tears at the green jacket ceremony. Humility and gratitude. The Glory Returns.
The Tiger is the G.O.A.T.