Monday Finish: Tiger triumphs at the Masters
April 15, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
- April 15, 2019
Tiger Woods' 81 victories on PGA TOUR
Wow. Just wow. Even the most passionate Tiger Woods fans who claimed they always believed had a moment of disbelief this past weekend. It happened. It really happened. This is not a dream. Not some Hollywood script – although you know one day it will be. Tiger Woods had fathers and mothers reliving their youth with their own kids. He had the older guard shaking their heads and having that internal debate between Jack Nicklaus or Woods having seen them both. And he had the new wave of kids who have grown on the likes of Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in awe.
Welcome to the Monday Finish where we are still getting the tears out of our eyes following Tiger Woods’ incredible 81st PGA TOUR win, 15th major title and fifth Masters title.
1. The debate on whether Woods is the greatest player of all-time will always rage until such time as he joins Jack Nicklaus on 18 majors but the fact is, Sunday at Augusta was arguably one of the greatest comebacks in the history of sports.
Of course Ben Hogan’s comeback from a near fatal car crash was also one for the ages but Woods has fought mountains of both physical injury and emotional pain since his last major win in 2008. People will be talking about where they were when Tiger won the 2019 Masters for the rest of their lives. Stories will pass down generations. And this will be the case if he never wins another major or if he wins five more. The poise Woods showed in the final round was most impressive. It was like it was the early 2000s again. As the carnage and pressure built around the back nine it was Woods who stayed calm. History beckoned… and he grabbed his place in it. His peers, beaten, all arguably looked happy with the result such was the magnitude. Read all about the phenomenal win here.
2. The scenes around Augusta National on Sunday might never ever be replicated.
The roars were deafening. The chants of “Tiger, Tiger, Tiger …” shook the foundations of the pines. Honestly, anyone lucky enough to be there can dine out on the story forever. “That will be the greatest scene in golf forever,” three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo said. “The whole euphoria of everything. The patrons, his emotion, the chanting. We will never see anything as exhilarating as that.”
We had someone on the ground for the entire experience. Get all the feels here.
3. The family hugs off the 18th green were as good as it gets.
Amongst the euphoria once the final putt dropped was an incredible moment. The hug shared off the 18th green between Tiger and his son Charlie, and then mother and daughter, was as emotional as it gets. If you are old enough to remember his first major win, the 1997 Masters, then you remember the embrace of Woods and his father Earl in the same place. Things came full circle and it had people bawling.
“I never thought we would see anything that could rival the hug with his father in 1997 but we just did,” Jim Nantz said.
“That hug with his children, if that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, if you’re a parent, you’re not human.”
Of course, Tiger so badly wanted his kids to see him win in the flesh to get a sense of his success from reality rather than YouTube. They got that and more. Read about the family joy here.
4. The chase for 82 is well and truly on!
Tiger’s win took him to 81 PGA TOUR wins and he is now just one shy of Sam Snead’s record of 82. Once thought completely unbreakable Snead’s record could easily be tied – and broken – this year. Consider the fact that the PGA Championship is at Bethpage Black this year … Woods won the 2002 U.S. Open there and was T6 when it returned in 2009. Then the U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach – the scene of his demolition job in 2000 when he won by 15 shots! He’s also had success at Pebble in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am. You cannot discount him in The Open Championship, or any other start he will have. One would expect the Memorial Tournament – where he’s won five times – will also be on the schedule … the list goes on … Do yourself a favor and read about ALL of Tiger Woods wins, and the chase for 82, here.
5. Tiger stepped up and hit the clutch shots when it mattered.
Woods had all the reasons in the world to be nervous down the stretch at Augusta National. While he had the most experience of all the contenders, he also arguably had the most pressure. If he didn’t pull this off the doubts would have surfaced as to if he could ever again. A near miss at Carnoustie last year was highlighted by poor swings under pressure with the lead. But this time Woods was going to make sure he would step up when he needed to. Yes he made some errors, but he made sure the damage was minimized. One of the biggest shots was his tee shot at the par-3 16th when he had just found the outright lead. With adrenalin coursing through his veins the old Tiger stepped up. The ball went desperately close to dropping in for an ace it was that precise. Another birdie and a two-shot lead. From there he was golden. Here is a look at the five clutch shots Woods hit to win the Masters.
1. Tiger Woods claimed his 81st PGA TOUR title, one shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record, in his 352nd start at 43 years, 3 months, 15 days, becoming the second-oldest winner of the Masters. (Jack Nicklaus 1986 was 46 years, 2 months, 23 days). It was Woods fifth Masters, second only to Nicklaus’ six and his 15th major, second only to Nicklaus’ 18.
2. This was the first time Woods has won a major championship when trailing after 54 holes. He co-led at 12-under through 13 holes, took solo lead with birdie at No. 15, two-stroke lead with birdie at No. 16. Then he closed par, bogey for one-stroke win. He ranked first in the field in Greens in Regulation with 58 of 72.
3. Woods moved to 13th in the FedExCup standings as he strives to be the first three-time FedExCup champion. He catapulted to sixth in the World Rankings, ninth in the 2019 U.S. team Presidents Cup standings and first in the 2020 Ryder Cup standings.
4. It was his first major championship in 11 years. The last person to go 11 years between major wins was Ben Crenshaw (1984-1995 Masters). It was Woods first Masters in 14 years, bettering the record for most years between Masters victories of 13 years by Gary Player (1961-1974).
5. The eventual Masters champion has come out of the final Sunday pairing/grouping 24 out of the last 29 years, with Zach Johnson (2007), Charl Schwartzel (2011), Bubba Watson (2012), Adam Scott (2013) and Danny Willett (2016) the exceptions.
The Wyndham Rewards Top 10 is in its first season and adds another layer of excitement to the FedExCup Regular Season. The top 10 players at the end of the FedExCup Regular Season will earn bonus payouts from the Wyndham Rewards Top 10.
There was some movement inside the top10 this week, with Dustin Johnson making a move to fifth and Brooks Koepka rejoining the rewards zone from 11th to sixth. Woods moved up from 81st to 13th.
Rank last week
What Top 10 gets (End of Regular Season)
Charles Howell III