For our young tour writer, Tiger Woods' 2019 Masters win was the first he really got to enjoy
If there’s one player’s year that you really don’t need me to walk you through, it’s Tiger Woods’. So I won’t.
But what I will do is state his case through a personal view, one that I’m sure will be shared by many of the younger golf nuts in our community.
To add a little context, I’m 23 and was born in the year prior to Woods’ first major win at the 1997 Masters.
I’ve followed golf for the best part of my life, even if it was just the majors early on, but in 2008 when Tiger won his 14th major I was 11 and have just the foggiest memory of him beating Rocco Mediate.
Tiger’s career and life in general then went on a bit of a downward spiral in the early years of this decade. This coincided with the stage of my life that I really became an enthusiastic follower of the game and the idea that I may never properly witness Woods winning a major was a pretty rough thought.
But as he rose again in 2018 to create that unbelievable scene at East Lake, my outlook changed and suddenly he became the man to beat yet again.
- NCG’s Player of the Year: Suzann Pettersen
- NCG’s Player of the Year: Shane Lowry
- NCG’s Player of the Year: Hinako Shibuno
The Tiger chat was endless at the beginning of this year. Where will he play? Will his back stay healthy? Will he win again? Will he complete the ultimate comeback and win the Masters?
Armed with my Tiger-signed programme from a 2006 Open Championship practice day, I was all in on this, perhaps more in hope than expectation.
Despite already having four Green Jackets in his wardrobe, I’d never had the pleasure of witnessing what a final round at the Masters is actually like when he had a serious chance of winning.
It turned out to be the pinnacle of golf viewing, the ultimate Sunday afternoon entertainment.
The leaderboard was stacked with the world’s best, including Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Francesco Molinari, all in with a chance of victory and what happened to these contenders was astonishing.
It seemed as if each and every player was keeping tabs on Tiger, while trying not to buckle under the pressure of holding off the Cat, but this just wasn’t possible.
Tiger was out last with Tony Finau and Molinari, both of whom collapsed on Sunday. Finau joined Molinari in the water at the 12th and in truth they both looked completely rattled.
I’d never seen such a thing. It wasn’t the prospect of winning the Masters was destroying them but the fact that they both knew who else was vying for the Jacket, the GOAT.
He may win more majors, or he may not, but he’ll never win another like that, another that means so much to all of us and more significantly to him, the more open Tiger.
After that near miss at Carnoustie he said: “I told them I tried, and I said, “Hopefully you’re proud of your pops for trying as hard as I did. It’s pretty emotional because they gave me some pretty significant hugs there and squeezed. It’s just so special to have them aware because I’ve won a lot of tournaments in my career, but they don’t remember any of them.”
In Augusta the hugs were there to celebrate a victory. And how we all loved it.
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