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Woods’ Return to Glory

Tiger Woods Captures his 15th Major Tournament and 5th Green Jacket.

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Woods’ Return to Glory

The Masters clubhouse includes the trophy room.

The Masters clubhouse includes the trophy room.

David Berry

The Masters clubhouse includes the trophy room.

David Berry

David Berry

The Masters clubhouse includes the trophy room.

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David Berry
The Hogan Bridge, named after former professional golfer Ben Hogan, is the bridge to the 12th hole green

Over the weekend, the annual Masters Tournament took place in Augusta, Georgia. The golf course was in pristine condition per usual and boasted a competitive nature. The best players from across the world were invited to test their skills against the beautiful beast that is Augusta National. Patrons gathered to watch history unfold as nerves were tested, shots were taken, and a champion was reborn. The legend of Tiger Woods lives on.

The Masters, the most prestigious golf event in the world, fielded 87 deserving players for the 2019 tournament. There were high hopes for players such as Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, etc. However, Tiger Woods prevailed after stringing four solid rounds of golf together.

Many people may know Tiger from the previous 80 PGA Tour wins he has. However, Woods says, “It’s overwhelming, just because of what has transpired. It’s unreal for me to experience this.” It’s apparent why Woods is overwhelmed by what has occurred over recent years. His body seemed to be slowing down after experiencing back spasms in March 2014. Since then, Woods has had four back surgeries to suppress his reoccurring back pain, ending with a spinal fusion in 2017. The surgery was labeled a success, but many were reluctant to believe that the great Tiger Woods would ever be able to return to his original form. Woods shared a video in August of 2017 with the caption, “Doc gave me the ok to start pitching.” This ignited a spark in fans who were hopeful that he would at least return to the game, even if he didn’t win.

David Berry
Preston Ruescher, renowned good golfer, takes a swing at the golf ball.

Tiger’s return to golf came when he competed in The Hero World Challenge. Since then, he has taken part in multiple PGA Tour events, improving each time. However, most sports analysts doubted that he would ever win again on tour. This all changed at the end of the FedEx Cup Playoffs when Woods defied the odds and took home the Tour Championship in 2018. Although the Tour Championship isn’t a major, it is one of the most competitive events on the PGA Tour. LHS Senior Christian Hankins said, “When I saw that Tiger won the Tour Championship, I wasn’t surprised. However, I didn’t think he’d win another major.”

David Berry
Avid golfer Christian Hankins watched the Masters over the weekend.

Tiger competed in the Masters for the second time in four years. Last year, he finished tied for 32nd. Many thought he played well last year, but few thought he would return to his prior form. LHS senior Preston Rueshrek said, “I always had high hopes for Tiger to return back to his previous form. However, I didn’t think he would have the firepower to keep up with the younger players on tour. Players like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and more hit the ball a mile. Also, going into the Masters, his putting within ten feet was shaky. Yet Tiger hit the ball in the right spots and drained putts when he needed to.” 

On Sunday, April 14th, the final round of The Masters began earlier than usual. This was due to the inclement weather approaching in the late afternoon. The leader after three rounds was Italian Francesco Molinari at 13 under par with Tiger Woods and Tony Finau two shots back at 11 under. The three were set to go off at 9:20. Despite a rather early start, Woods said in an interview, “I’ll get up at 3:45 or 4 and be ready to go.”

Leads fluctuated, shots were given back, and shots were gained, but when the leaders approached the 15th hole at Augusta, four golfers were all square at 12 under. At this point, it was anyone’s tournament to win. However, with a terrific drive and a solid approach shot, Tiger took the lead by one. Molinari and young golfer Xander Shauffele were still on Woods’ heels. This changed when Woods had a clutch near hole-out on the par three 16th hole which left him a tap in birdie to get to 14 under. Now, Woods had a two-stroke lead with two holes left to play. Patrons gathered around the final group to see how Woods would finish. On the 17th hole, as if no one was watching, he fired a 300 yard drive down the middle of the fairway. Woods proceeds to hit a safe approach shot and two-putts for his par. Going into hole 18, Tiger Woods had the outright lead. After hitting a decent drive down the right side of the fairway, he hit an approach shot that was a bit short, but pitched it on the green. Woods then proceeded to nearly make the putt for his par save, but instead tapped in to win at 13 under. Jim Nantz left golf fans with this statement, “Many doubted we’d ever see it, but here it is: the return to glory.”

David Berry
Tiger Woods, while wearing the trademark green jacket, hoists The Masters trophy.

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Woods’ Return to Glory