Tiger Woods reacts as he wins the Masters golf tournament Sunday in Augusta, Ga. Photo: AP/David J Phillip
golf

Tiger Woods wins 5th Masters title

18 Comments
By DOUG FERGUSON

Fallen hero, crippled star, and now a Masters champion again.

Tiger Woods rallied to win the Masters for the fifth time Sunday, a comeback that goes well beyond the two-shot deficit he erased before a delirious audience that watched memories turn into reality at Augusta National.

Woods had gone nearly 11 years since he won his last major, 14 years since that green jacket was slipped over his Sunday red shirt. He made it worth the wait, closing with a 2-under 70 for a one-shot victory and setting off a scene of raw emotion.

He scooped up 10-year-old Charlie, born a year after Woods won his 14th major at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S Open. He hugged his mother and then his 11-year-old daughter Sam, and everyone else in his camp that stood by him through a public divorce, an embarrassing DUI arrest from a concoction of painkillers and four back surgeries, the most recent one just two years ago to fuse his lower spine.

"WOOOOOOO!!!" Woods screamed as he headed for the scoring room with chants of "Tiger! Tiger! Tiger" echoing as loud as any of the roars on the back nine at Augusta National.

"It's overwhelming, just because of what has transpired," Woods said in Butler Cabin. "Last year I was lucky to be playing again. At the previous year's dinner, I was really struggling. I missed a couple of years not playing this great tournament. To now be the champion ... 22 years between wins is a long time. It's unreal to experience this."

Woods lost his impeccable image to a sex scandal, one of the swiftest and most shocking downfalls in sport.

He lost his health to four back surgeries that left him unable to get out of bed, much less swing a club, and he went two years without even playing a major. It was two years ago at the Masters when Woods said he needed a nerve block just to walk to the Champions Dinner. At that time, he thought his career is over.

Now the comeback is truly complete.

He wrapped his arms around his father when he won his first green jacket in 1997, changing the world of golf.

"Now I'm the dad with two kids there," he said.

He wanted his children to see him win, once saying they saw him only as a YouTube legend. They were at the British Open when he had the lead briefly. They couldn't make it to East Lake last September, when he won the Tour Championship for his first victory in five years.

"I wasn't going to let that happen to them twice," he said. "To let them see what it's like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope it's something they'll never forget."

Woods won his 15th major, three short of the standard set by Jack Nicklaus. It was his 81st victory on the PGA Tour, one title away from the career record held by Sam Snead.

"A big 'well done' from me to Tiger," Nicklaus tweeted. "I am so happy for him and for the game of golf. This is just fantastic!!!"

It was the first time Woods won a major when trailing going into the final round, and he needed some help from Francesco Molinari, the 54-hole leader who still was up two shots heading into the heart of Amen Corner.

And that's when all hell broke loose at Augusta.

Molinari's tee shot on the par-3 12th never had a chance, hitting the bank and tumbling into Rae's Creek for double bogey. Until then, Molinari had never trailed in a round that began early in threesomes to finish ahead of storms.

And then it seemed as though practically everyone had a chance.

Six players had a share of the lead at some point on the back. With the final group still in the 15th fairway, there was a five-way tie for the lead. And that's when Woods seized control, again with plenty of help.

Molinari's third shot clipped a tree and plopped straight down in the water for another double bogey. Woods hit onto the green, setting up a two-putt birdie for his first lead of the final round.

The knockout punch was a tee shot into the 16th that rode the slope just by the cup and settled 2 feet away for birdie and a two-shot lead with two holes to play.

Xander Schauffele failed to birdie the par-5 15th and scrambled for pars the rest of the way for a 68. Dustin Johnson made three straight birdies late in the round, but he got going too late and had to settle for a 68 and a return to No. 1 in the world.

Brooks Koepka, one of four players from the final two groups who hit into the water on No. 12, rallied with an eagle on the 13th, narrowly missed another eagle on the 15th and was the last player with a chance. His birdie putt on the 18th from just outside 10 feet never had a chance, and he had to settle for a 70.

"You want to play against the best to ever play," Koepka said. "You want to go toe-to-toe with them. I can leave saying I gave it my all. He's just good, man."

Wood finished at 13-under 275 and became, at 43, the oldest Masters champion since Nicklaus won his sixth green jacket at 46 in 1986. That for years has stood as Augusta's defining moment.

This was one is sure to at least rival it.

"This is definitely, probably one of the greatest comebacks I think anybody's ever seen," Koepka said, before rattling off Woods' total PGA Tour victories and 15 majors.

Is the Nicklaus record back in play?

"I think 18 is a whole lot closer than people think," Koepka said.

Koepka and Molinari both faced Tigermania in the majors and held their own, Molinari at Carnoustie to win the British Open, Koepka last summer at Bellerive to win the PGA Championship.

Molinari went 49 straight holes without a bogey, a streak that ended on the seventh hole. It was the double bogeys that cost him, and the Italian was gracious as ever in defeat.

"I think I made a few new fans today with those double bogeys," he said.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


18 Comments
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Thrilling to see Tiger come back after wondering in the proverbial wilderness for so long and return to top form in his 40's. An inspiration for us older guys everywhere.

Congratulations Tiger!

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Pretty impressive comeback physically and even mentally. Bet that felt good, after the past decade of misery. Reckon he might say that was his the special one of all.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

What an amazing turn of events! Nice to see Tiger evolve into the man he has become as well as the accomplishment of winning the Masters today!

This year "golf" is going to be in the headlines quite a bit I will bet!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Sounds like he finally got his ghosts done away with.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Awesome comeback great round he held it together to the last hole Congrats Tiger!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Always nice to see someone pull themselves up from the gutters. Nice win!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Amazing chapter in the game of golf and the life of Woods. Never give-up.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A living legend has been re-born. The man is back in town.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I do think he is a golf legend, but his off course scandals are legend too. It’s hard to find athletes that my kids can look up to.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Not a golf fan and thought the whole fascination with Tiger was ridiculous.  Been wrong on that one.  Now he needs to stay off the sauce and leave the "escorts" alone.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

A great come back...Congrats Tiger!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Been a long time between drinks but he did it. Golf may not be the most physically demanding sport, it's still pretty impressive to win a major vs 100 blokes & 20 'potential winners' esp when you're on the wrong side of 40.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I hope he beats Nicholas's record!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I do think he is a golf legend, but his off course scandals are legend too. It’s hard to find athletes that my kids can look up to.

How about starting with yourself? Athletes aren't role models. If you do actually like sports and there's an athlete you like,he has his dirt too.Because EVERYONE has,including you and me.

 Now he needs to stay off the sauce and leave the "escorts" alone.

What's your predilection?
5 ( +5 / -0 )

Very cool. Especially considering Augusta Greens were made more difficult back in the day just because he was winning too much. :)_ No question Woods is the most talented to ever play the game, whether he can legitimately be called the greatest remains to be seen. If it hadn't been for all the problems he would have won over 20 majors easily.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In the last 3 majors, Tiger has finished 6th, 2nd, 1st. But of his 15 majors, this is the only time he's won when not in the lead after the third round.

At one point, 5 players were tied for the lead. The 12th Hole at Amen Corner was literally a turning point: of the last 6 players to go there, only Tiger hit the green - 4 hit the water!

13 years between Green Jackets is the longest in Augusta history. Including this one, the last 3 times Woods shot a 70 in the first round, he went on to win the Masters. So the next time he shoots a 70 on the first round, bet on him!

Someone did just bet $85,000 on Woods in Las Vegas and ended up winning $1.2 million, the largest payoff in Vegas golf ever! Woods winning resulted in the most losses for the bookies, lol

Next up is Bethpage Black! (A golf course I've been to - it's public)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have been following Tiger's golf swing his entire career. All the changes. All the swing coaches from Butch Harman and many others come and gone. Have enjoyed watching him win major after major then the slam. This was just amazing news to see pop up in feeds everywhere. I have said all along that he would win Majors again and he will surpass Jack for the best to ever hold a gold club. Well T.W. Never had a doubt. the 28 months you have really returned to pro gold form.

You have come along way since this day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzq6Wqpl328

Wat to go Tiger! The greatest comeback for for all time.

Earl would be proud!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Someone did just bet $85,000 on Woods in Las Vegas and ended up winning $1.2 million, the largest payoff in Vegas golf ever! Woods winning resulted in the most losses for the bookies, lol

@lostrune, yep saw that (14-1). I think he's now at 5-1 to equal Nicklaus' record and 10-1 to surpass him.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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