“You couldn’t have had more drama than we all had out there. And now I know why I’m balding,” said Tiger Woods, champion of the 2019 Masters Tournament. “This stuff is hard.”
Woods clinched the Masters on April 14, in what was, according to the Associated Press (AP), a nail-biting, final-round comeback. This was the first time Woods won a major tournament after trailing going into the last round. This was also his fifth career Masters victory.
“I only watched it Sunday,” Audrey Ratliff, a Richland student and avid golf fan said of the four-day contest. “But it was an amazing comeback in Tiger’s career and he showed complete composure throughout the competition.”
It had been 11 years since Woods last won a major tournament – the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines – and 14 years since his last Masters victory. Just two years ago, Woods needed a nerve block to get upstairs to the Champions Dinner, according to AP.
Woods entered the final round two shots behind the leader but clawed his way to the top. In the last seven holes he never missed a necessary shot, according to AP, gaining the lead on the 15th hole. Having clinched his victory, he bogeyed the 18th—and the party was on. According to AP, chants of “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!” followed Woods on his triumphant march into the scoring room.
Wood’s turbid and turbulent past make this victory all the more special. A DUI, an embarrassingly public divorce, four back surgeries and what was, according to AP, a bad mix of painkillers all contributed to what was considered by many to be the downfall of a superstar.
“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. To have the opportunity to come back like this, it’s probably one of the biggest wins I’ve ever had for sure because of it,” Woods said.
Woods was ecstatic that his 10-year-old son Charlie and 11-year-old daughter Sam were able to see, appreciate and remember that moment of victory.
“For them to see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope that’s something they will never forget,” Woods said.
The world was also ecstatic. Fenway Park posted news of Wood’s win on the scoreboard. President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations.
This Master victory constituted Woods’ 15th major tournament win. Now, according to AP, there are whispers of his matching or superseding Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major victories.
“I think 18 is a whole lot closer than people think,” said Brooks Koepka, an American professional golfer who tied for second place in the Masters this year.
“We’re on 14 and I said, ‘Let’s get to 15.’ You can’t be on 14 and thinking about 18,” Joe LaCava, Woods’ faithful caddy, said. “But now we can start talking about 16. So we’re getting closer.”
Nicklaus himself tweeted his congratulations. “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!!!”