Tiger Woods Wins 5th Masters Title; First Major Victory Since 2008

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Tiger Woods Wins 5th Masters Title; First Major Victory Since 2008

Tiger Woods already had an all-time great career a decade ago. By 2008, Woods had 14 Major titles and seemed unstoppable. It was a question of when, not if, he would pass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 and cement himself as the undisputed greatest player of all time. Then, from a sports perspective, disaster struck. Personal issues followed by injury knocked Woods out of the top players in the world. A devastating back injury with major surgeries followed a few years later. No one knew if we would ever see Tiger play again, let alone play at top form. In the past year or so he has looked competitive at top tournaments, but no one could have honestly expected what we saw at Augusta here today.
Sunday’s Action
To start the final round, Francesco Molinari seemed to be by far the player to beat. He wasn’t putting up eagles or major birdie numbers, but he just wasn’t missing shots. The Italian was playing the course perfectly, and did not hit a single bogey from the 11th hole on Thursday until the 11th hole on Sunday. Molinari held a three-stroke lead at -13 with as little as eight holes remaining. He then shot a double bogey after hitting the water on 12, and did the same on 15. Those were his only over-par holes of the day, but they were enough to knock him way out of contention.


Thursday January 01, 1970

Meanwhile, around the course, players were moving. As Molinari collapsed, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele joined the leaders at -12. Dustin Johnson came roaring back into the picture, birdying three of the final four holes to join the leaders. Brooks Koepka, whose struggles on Friday kept him from easily leading this tournament, almost took himself out of contention by also hitting the water on 12, but came right back into the picture with an eagle at 13. He also shared the -12 lead at one point.

Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, and a few others made late charges as well (and we have plenty of Final Round highlights), but no one else reached -12 to join that group above.
Tiger Emerges
No one, that is, except for Tiger Woods. And as the situation emerged for him, the old Tiger returned. He hit a tremendous approach at the Par 5 15th to give himself a look at eagle. The easy birdie putt let Woods take his outright lead at -13, and the champion never looked back. A perfect tee shot at the Par 3 16th set him up for an easy birdie and a two-stroke lead on the field.


Thursday January 01, 1970

From there, Tiger Woods played the perfect golf that we were accustomed to seeing from him a decade ago. He reached the 17th and 18th fairways perfectly in regulation, and easily made par on 17. Koepka missed a birdie chance at 18–which would have cut the lead to one stroke. With a two-stroke cushion at 18, Tiger Woods had nothing to fear. With the extra shot in hand, he navigated the wind to safely lay up in front of the green. A good chip and two (relatively) safe putts later, and Tiger Woods earned the Green Jacket once again.

The championship is Tiger’s 5th Masters and 15th Major overall. With the win, he is the second-oldest champion in Augusta history. And now, a decade after we stopped thinking he would catch Nicklaus’ record of 18, it’s time to start wondering the Golden Bear’s all-time mark is in play once again.

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