The greatest comeback since Lazarus. Instead of waiting a week to celebrate the most known resurrection, the world watched Tiger Woods bring himself back from the depths of misery to resurrect his title as the greatest golfer.
“Tiger competing at the top level is the greatest thing in all of sports,” said Doris Burke during the third round of the Masters tournament. The ESPN basketball analyst even understands how amazing Woods game is.
From 1997, where he put on his first green jacket, to 2008, where he won his fourteenth major, may have been the most dominant run in sports. His resume includes 80 PGA wins, two away from Sam Sneed who leads the world with 82. Fifteen major wins, just three behind Jack Nicklaus who has 18. He was the greatest golfer of our time, until 2009.
A report surfaced in the National Enquire that claimed Wood’s was involved in an affair. Two days later his now ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, chased Wood’s driving his black Cadillac Escalade with a golf club, that resulted in Woods crashing.
Later information was released about Woods being involved in multiple affairs that sent his personal life into shambles. This was just the start of the star’s downfall.
Woods health also began to deteriorate during this time. From 2008-2017 Woods has had four back surgeries, injured both Achilles tendons, right elbow issues, strained left MCL, neck stiffness and dropped out of many tournaments due to his pain. I don’t know about the entire sports world, but overcoming that many surgeries and injuries can’t be easy.
At his worst, Woods was arrested for a DUI charge in Florida of 2017. In his toxicology report Woods was recorded with five different drugs in his system including: two pain killers, one was an opioid, Xanax, for anxiety, Ambien, a sleeping pill and Delta-9 carboxy THC, also found in marijuana.
“I am currently receiving professional help to manage my medications and the way I deal with back pain and sleep disorder,” Woods said after the incident. “I realize now it was a mistake to do this without medical assistance.” Woods realized the true problem of opioids. His reliance on them to make his back pain go away caused some serious damage.
He went through four swing coaches, a divorce, drug reliance issues, all in the eyes of the public. All his actions were judged and talked about for weeks at a time. Any normal person would have moved on from the game of golf and began anew separate from the public eye and focused on self-improvement. But Woods, all he wanted was to win. All he knew and loved was golf, and nothing was going to stop him from getting back.
With all the doubt over the last two years, even from himself, Woods has slowly gotten back to his old form since tying for sixth place at the 2018 Open Championship back in July of 2018. Woods eventually held the lead for a short period of time in his Sunday red. However, he could not hold on for long, and lost by three strokes to his partner Francesco Molinari who picked up his first ever major. Woods proved it wasn’t a fluke just a month later when he came in second, going back and forth between winner Brooks Koepka, who defeated him by two strokes in one of the most exciting majors in years.
This was impressive even for Woods because he never thought he would swing a golf club again after his fourth and final back surgery in April of 2017. After hearing that and watching him perform at a high level again, it was awesome to finally see gilmpses of the old Woods. Some of his hard work payed off when he won the Tour Championship back in late September in Atlanta. It was his first PGA event win in over five years. Even though he won, something was still missing. He was still missing a major championship. Something he hasn’t won in 11 years.
Woods didn’t waste much time in 2019 to end the most unlikly dryspell of all time. Over 22 years ago, Woods won his first major at Augusta, Ga., and was hungry for another.
In Woods’s previous 14 major wins, he held the lead entering the final round, but this time it was a little bit different. Woods enter the day in the last pairing, but trailed by two strokes to the same guy who defeated him at The Open, Molinari. They were also paired with emerging star Tony Finau, who was tied with Woods at -11. The day before, during Round three, The Masters officals decided to move up all the tee times, including the pairings.
Molinari led the course with a score of -13 after only one bogey through the first 60 holes. However, he bogeied the seventh hole, but came right back with a birdie on eight to give him a score 36 on the front nine. Woods birdied on the third hole to move within 1, but had back-to-back bogies on four and five to move him three strokes back. He would soon make up for it, birdieing on seven and eight to shout a 35 on the front. Finau was average, but still in contention with his 36.
Woods and Finau both bogeied 10 to began the back, while Molinari parred. All three of them parred the first hole of Amen’s Corner, entering one of the most diffucult holes in the world, the par 3 12. Three years ago, we saw Jordan Spieth choke on that hole, scoring a quadrouple bogey. Moments before the last pairing tee’d off at 12, Koepka double bogeied 12 after hitting it in the water on his tee shot. The pin was playing right-middle, left of the front bunker and right in front of a water hazzard. Molinari and Finau went right for the pin, and just like Kopeka did, they hit it short and into the hazzard. Woods played it smart and played it left of the bunker. He took his par, and just like that, Woods was tied for the lead.
It wouldn’t last long when Patrick Cantlay eagled on 15 and Xander Schauffele birdied on 14 to take the lead at -12. Cantlay came out of nowhere on Saturday, after shooting a 64. However, he still trailed by seven shots entering Sunday. After 15, he gained another six shots to have a share of the lead. Bogies on 16 and 17 ruined his dreams of winning, but had a weekend low of -12, and finished in ninth with a -10. Schauffele couldn’t raise his score after that, parring the last four holes, and finished tied in second place along with Dustin Johnson and Koepka at -12.
Woods gained a lot of momentum after 12, and birded three of the next four holes to give him the highest score of the week at -14.
Woods parred the 17 while Koepka was trying to move within one with his birdie attempt at 18. Kopeka pushed it left, and Tiger was only five shots away from another green jacket.
After hitting the fairway off the tee, Woods hit his approach right of the green. Then he walked into hundreds of roaring fans carring him home to the finish line. Woods’s chip shot made it on the green, needing only two more shots to win. Woods took his time on the first putt, but just missed on the right side of the cup. He waited out for the other two to finish. As soon as they putted out, Woods sank his bogey put to win his fifth green jacket!
Eleveen years later, the best of all time finally broke his curse. Fourteen years after his last green jacket win. But what has even sweeter was him celebrating with with mom and kids. It may have taken him 11 years, but Tiger Woos has captured his 15th major.