Tiger wins 15th major title with spectacular Masters victory

Sunday April 14 2019

Tiger Woods of the United States celebrates

Tiger Woods of the United States celebrates after sinking his putt on the 18th green to win during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO  

By AFP

Tiger Woods won the 83rd Masters on Sunday, capturing his 15th major title to cement an epic return from scandal and injuries that once threatened his career.
Ending an 11-year major drought, the 43-year-old American superstar -- who underwent spinal fusion in 2017 fearing chronic back pain would deny him life's simple joys much less golf wins -- seized his first major title since the 2008 US Open.

Woods fired a final-round two-under par 70 to finish on 13-under 275 for a one-shot victory to capture a $2.07 million (1.82 million euros) top prize and the green jacket symbolizing Masters supremacy.
An all-American trio of three-time major winner Brooks Koepka, world number two Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele shared second on 276.
"I don't know if there are words -- I'm sure he's ecstatic about it," Koepka said. "To have the injuries and come back and do what he has done, it has been tremendous to watch."
It was the fifth Masters title for Woods, his first since 2005, and it moved him three shy of the all-time record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus.

"A big well done from me to Tiger," Nicklaus told telecaster CBS. "I'm so happy for him and for the game of golf this is so fantastic."
The triumph was the first major victory for Woods when he did not lead after 54 holes, having started the day two adrift of reigning British Open champion Francesco Molinari.
Woods served notice he had returned to form by contending last year at the British Open and PGA before snapping a five-year title drought by capturing the Tour Championship.
Racing to finish before an oncoming thunderstorm, players created their own electric atmosphere, spectators roaring repeatedly for sensational shotmaking on one of golf's iconic stages at Augusta National, where Woods won his first major title in 1997.

- Fans chant Tiger's name -
Woods then drove the green in two at the par-5 15th and tapped in for birdie to seize the lead alone at 13-under par then sank a four-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th to stretch his advantage to two shots with two holes remaining.

Woods parred 17 and walked up to the 18th green to crowds 20-people deep applauding with delight, but he kept a stoic visage until the job was complete, a tap-in for bogey followed by a fist pump and a scream of joy in celebration of a fairytale fightback like few others in sporting history.
Just off the 18th green, Woods hugged his mother as he had his late father Earl in 1997 and held his children, his back more than up to the task as the crowd chanted his name, a rare tribute, and rivals congratulated him as he entered the clubhouse.
Woods, one shy of matching Nicklaus for the most career Masters wins, won his 81st career US PGA victory, one shy of the all-time record held by Sam Snead.

He also set a record for the longest gap between Masters triumphs, the 14-year spread one year longer than the old mark set by South African Gary Player from 1961 to 1974.
It completes a fairytale comeback to the pinnacle of golf for Woods, whose career imploded after a 2009 sex scandal before unraveling amid injuries and personal problems.

Logjam of late leaders
After battling to overhaul 54-hole leader Francesco Molinari of Italy, Woods birdied the par-5 13th to join a lead pack of five at 12-under.
Woods, Molinari, Xander Schauffele, Brooks Kopeka and Dustin Johnson -- with Australian Jason Day in the clubhouse on 11-under and Patrick Cantlay, who also hit 12-under, foiled by bogeys at 16 and 17.
Woods and Molinari, in the last trio, each birdied the par-5 13th to reach 12-under while Johnson reeled off three consecutive birdies, the last on an 11-foot putt at 17, to make 12-under.

Schauffele got there on birdies at 14 and 15 and Koepka by answering a double bogey at the par-3 12th with an eagle at 13 and birdie at 15.

Tiger Woods celebrates with the Masters Trophy

Tiger Woods celebrates with the Masters Trophy during the Green Jacket Ceremony after winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia.


None could go lower except Woods, with Molinari undone at the par-5 15th when his approach struck a tree limb and his chip barely clung to the side of a damp slope on the way to a double-bogey disaster.
Augusta National moved the final round to Sunday morning due to storms expected to arrive in the afternoon, when leaders would typically be battling for the title.
The Masters, which has not had a Monday conclusion since 1983, decided to cancel its green jacket ceremony at the 18th green in order to hurry spectators to the exits faster.

Tiger Woods career timeline
Career timeline Tiger Woods, who won the 83rd Masters on Sunday for his 15th major title:
-- August 1996: Turns pro after an outstanding amateur career and is named as the PGA Rookie of the Year.
-- April 1997: Wins the first of 14 majors at the Masters, becoming at 21 the youngest-ever winner at Augusta National. Two months later he takes the world number one spot for the first time.
-- June 2000: wins US Open at Pebble Beach by a record 15 strokes and then becomes the the fifth player in history to complete the career Grand Slam by winning the British Open by eight strokes at St Andrews.
-- April 2001: Wins his second Masters title and completes the "Tiger Slam" as the first golfer to be reigning champion of all four majors simultaneously.

-- April 2002: Successfully defends his Masters crown and in June he goes on to win his second US Open at Bethpage Black. That makes him the youngest golfer in history to win seven majors.
-- September 2004: After failing to win another major in 2003 and 2004 Vijay Singh replaces him as world number one after a record run of 264 weeks on top.
-- April 2005: Woods emerges from "slump" to win a fourth Masters, defeating Chris DiMarco in a playoff. He then wins a second British Open by five strokes at St Andrews. With his 10th major title he joins Jack Nicklaus in being the only players to win all four major tournaments at least twice.
-- May, 2006: His father and guiding force Earl dies at 74, but the following month Woods wins his third British Open and 11th major at Hoylake

-- June 2008: Two months after knee surgery wins the US Open for his 14th major at Torrey Pines, defeating Rocco Mediate in a playoff. He promptly announces that he needs more knee surgery and takes the rest of the season off.
-- February 2009: Nine months later he returns to action, but in November of that year a car accident outside his Florida home unearths a series of infidelities that wrecks his marriage. Takes an "indefinite break from professional golf" to get his life back together.
-- April 2010: Returns to action at the Masters where he finishes fourth but the injuries mount over the course of the year and his ranking starts to tumble.

-- March 2013: Woods regains his form in 2012 and the following year his eighth win in the Arnold Palmer Invitational sees him regain the world number one spot.
-- March 2014: After a slow start to 2014, Woods injures himself during the Honda Classic and he subsequently skips the Masters for the first time to undergo back surgery. Loses world number one spot to Adam Scott in May.
-- February 2015: Struggles to get his season going and after pulling out injured from a tournament at Torrey Pines says he will take another break from competition.
-- September/October 2015: Woods has microdiscectomy to remove spinal disc fragement pinching a nerve, with follow-up procedure to relieve lingering discomfort.

-- February 2017: Back spasms prompt Woods to withdraw from second round of Dubai Desert Classic, cutting short his return from a 16-month injury layoff.
-- April 2017: After missing the Masters, Woods announces he had yet another surgery to alleviate pain in his back and leg.
-- May 2017: Woods arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Jupiter, Florida.
- January 2018: Woods makes his return to the PGA Tour with a shared 23rd place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torry Pines, California.

- April 2018: Woods finishes tied for 32nd at the Masters, the first Major appearance of his comeback.
- June 2018: Woods suffers a setback after missing the cut at the US Open at Shinnecock Hills after posting a 78 followed by a 72.
- July 2018: Woods bounces back from his US Open Championship disappointment with a top-10 placing at the British Open, finishing tied for sixth.
- August 2018: Woods announces his return to Major contention with a second place finish, just two back from winner Brooks Koepka.
- September 2018: Woods is named in the US Ryder Cup team. He follows with victory at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
- April, 2019: Woods wins the 83rd Masters, his fifth triumph at Augusta National coming 14 years after his fourth to end an 11-year major championship drought.

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