Well, yes, that did just happen. Tiger Woods is a major champion yet again. This past Sunday, Woods captured his 15th major championship and 81st PGA Tour Victory. When Tiger was at his lowest of lows, I stood confident and declared Tiger would win again, and yes, he would win another major. Tiger, in my opinion, is the greatest of all time. Once he won the Tour Championship that pretty much solidified himself to me that he was the GOAT. Throughout the week at The Masters, Tiger just had that aura around him that he could win this week. He was just calm and in his own words he did a great job of “plotting around the golf course”.
He opened with a 70, like he has on his 3 of his other 4 Masters victories. His putter was a little shaky to start in the first round and he missed a good amount of putts from 5-10 feet. “I felt like I played well,” Woods said after his first round concluded. He made birdies on 2, 9, 13, 15 and bogeyed 5 and 17. Tiger has overcome a lot, and even that is such an unbelievable understatement. But one really impressive feat is overcoming the chipping yips. If you can think back to that Hero World Challenge at Isleworth, the one where Spieth absolutely annihilated(like he normally does when he wins), but if you can think of the way Tiger’s short game was then. And then to take it from Isleworth, and compare it to now, the change is crazy. Scrambling at 88% percent for the week is a very underestimated accomplishment.
Second round was a a great addition to a start that Tiger was absolutely comfortable with. Opening with 3 straight pars, Tiger birdied the TOUGH par 3 4th hole, Flowering Crab Apple. After a bogey on the 5, like he would turn out to have all week on that hole, he bounced back with a birdie on Juniper, the par 3 6th. The putter defiantly rebounded the second and helped him out. After a deflating bogey on the par 5 8th, Woods fired straight back with a birdie on the 9th, making the turn in 1 under, and 3 under for the tournament. Woods then played a FANTASTIC back nine. Birdies on 11(yes 11.), 14, and 15, Woods should have actually scored a bit lower. Yes the birdie on 11 was a rare feat, Woods should have birdied 13, and 17. He played a great little baby draw into a tucked left pin on 17 and his putt just did not break like he thought it would. And a par on 18 left him shooting a 68 on day 2, and -6 for the tournament heading into the weekend at The Masters.
The third round was much of the same and if not better. Four straight pars and the standard for the week bogey on 5 left Tiger at 1 over on the day through 5 holes. Tiger was patient all week, but this patience really showed on the weekend. After this frustrating bogey on 5, Tiger rolled in three straight birdies on 6, 7, and 8. All of a sudden from 1 over through 5, Tiger sat at 2 under through 8. The shot on 7 was one of his best of the week. A hold off fade that just rode with the wind, landed a foot from the pin, and stayed there. Another misread on 8 lead to around a 15 footer for eagle sliding by on the left side leaving Tiger with a birdie. Another fantastic back nine with birdies on 13,15, and 16. One of the best moments of the tournament could be the putt on 16 from like 8 feet in which Tiger walked in like it was 2005 all over again, especially with the mock turtle neck. 11 under for the tournament and trailing leader Francesco Molinari by 2 heading into the final round.
Fans and players around the world braced themselves for what could be one of the most historic days in all of sports. The day that people have waited so long for. 14 years to be exact. The final round started just the way every other round did. A par to begin with, but it was a clutch, very fast, downhill slider on 3 that he buried for birdie and put a little pressure on Molinari. Bogeys on 4 and 5 killed pretty much all of his momentum. Another bad bogey on 10 and a final one on 18 combined with birdies on 7, 8, 13, 15, and a almost hole-in-one on 16. Tiger’s patience finally proved to be the X-factor on the famed 12th hole, Golden Bell. Molinari, Koepka, and Finau all put it in the water while Tiger took it over the middle of the front bunker, safely on the green. But to be honest, almost made a bogey. Walking up to the reception on 18 and making the final putt, you could see the sheer excitement and happiness on Tiger’s face.
As for the rest of the majors, Tiger is very familiar with 2 out of the remaining 3. Bethpage and Pebble are two courses Tiger has won majors at. Most famously the 2000 U.S. Open where he won by 15 shots and computer simulations literally cannot even reproduce what he did. As well as a wire-to-wire win at Bethpage Black in 2002 where he was the only player to finish under par. I do not think Tiger will capture another major this season and I believe this is his best shot to win a major outside of Augusta again. This is only due to his prior history at these courses. I think that if he wins a major again this season it is the US Open at Pebble. However, I do not think that The Masters is going to be his last win this season. I think that he will definitely win again on tour and I believe he will capture Sam for the most wins all-time.
Tiger is playing some really great golf right now. All of the talks about “he’s back” and “the Tiger we know is back” is a bit outrageous. THAT Tiger will NEVER be back. During he rise, the rate he won at is absolutely absurd. The way he closed out, and just the sheer intimidation will never be back IN FULL. I do agree a little has come back. When players see his name they do get a little nervous. Not to the point they used to, but there is a little there. Do not be surprised to see this as a regular thing from Tiger.