Tiger Woods wins Masters Tournament, completes legendary comeback
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Tiger Woods has returned to golfing preeminence by winning the 2019 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, as reported in an April 2019 CBS Sports article. Although this is the fifth Masters championship in Woods’s career, it is his first since 2005. Although Woods has won 15 major tournaments in his career, this is his first major tournament victory since just over ten years ago in 2008.
With rounds of 70, 68, 67 and 70, Woods stayed in contention, and with a final round of two under par, he finished the tournament at 13 under par, narrowly defeating Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka, who all tied for second place at twelve under par according to a Sports Illustrated article. Woods showed his resilience and summoned his experience to overcome a slow start, including two bogeys in his first five holes of the final round. Woods was three strokes off the lead on the sixth hole. He kept his nose to the grindstone and fought through to birdie the seventh and eighth holes and found himself one stroke off the lead. After a bogey on the tenth hole, Woods was two strokes back. Woods persevered and was tied for the lead after twelve holes. After a birdie on the fifteenth, Woods had sole possession of the lead and he did not relinquish the lead thereafter, despite a bogey on the eighteenth hole. The drama and tension of this last round gave new meaning to the expression “nail-biter.”
The rise and fall of Tiger Woods has been well-documented, as explained by Sporting News. Woods burst onto the scene when he turned professional in 1996 and earned the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour Rookie of the Year award. Woods earned the rank of number one player in the world his second year as a professional. Other achievements include becoming the youngest player ever to win fifty tournaments. By 2008, Woods had won fourteen major tournaments, just four fewer than the all-time leader, Jack Nicklaus. His professional exploits and hugely lucrative endorsement contracts had placed Woods on the top of the golfing world.
A series of personal challenges led to a dramatic fall for Woods. These included accusations of extramarital infidelity and a motor vehicle accident in 2009. In 2010, Woods withdrew from a tournament due to an injury, his coach resigned and he and his wife announced their divorce. Over the next few years, Woods required multiple surgeries on his back. In March 2015, Woods fell outside of the ranks of the top 100 golfers in the world for the first time since 1996, and in May 2016, he fell outside of the ranks of the top 500 golfers. In May 2017, Woods was arrested for driving under the influence.
This dramatic victory in a highly prestigious, major golf tournament, after a precipitous fall from grace has been lauded by people far and wide. As quoted in a BBC article, remarks about this feat include, “Tiger has shown us all that you can always come back, in sport and in life, if you put in the work,” said by former tennis star Chris Evert, and “To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit and determination,” written by former United States President Barack Obama. This remarkable comeback story will be remembered for a very long time, and will provide inspiration for countless people and inspire them to persevere in the face of significant adversity.