Augusta, Apr 15 : Tiger Woods has completed one of the greatest comebacks in sport by winning Masters title for the fifth time--his first major in 11 years.
A stunning victory at the Augusta National was completed with a simple putt for a one-shot victory over fellow Americans Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka.
There were scenes of joy and chants of "Tiger, Tiger" from the crowds thronging the 18th hole after Woods sealed his 15th career major in a triumph which comes 14 years after he last wore the green jacket at Augusta, Qatar news agency reported.
Just two years after he thought his career could be over because of a serious back condition, and with a new wave of golfers giving him their best shot during a wild, tightly contested final round of the 83rd Masters Tournament, Woods proved he still has what it takes to win when it matters most.
“There were so many different scenarios that could have transpired on that back nine,” said Woods who won a major for the first time when trailing through 54 holes. “There were so many guys that had a chance to win. Leader board was absolutely packed and everyone was playing well. You couldn't have had more drama than we all had out there. Now you know why I’m balding. This stuff is hard.”
At the conclusion of a closing 18 holes played hours earlier than usual to beat expected thunderstorms, there was a weather warning on the leader boards, but the Tiger watch was over.
Woods was back in a major way, winning his first Masters in 14 years and fifth over all, surpassing Gary Player for the largest gap between titles. It was his first major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open.
With a closing 70, Woods finished at 13-under 275, one stroke ahead of Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka. Four others – Jason Day, Webb Simpson, Francesco Molinari and Tony Finau – finished at 277.
After he tapped in for a bogey on No. 18, Woods yelled, raised his arms skyward and walked triumphantly off the green, completing a major victory many thought might not ever occur. Twenty-two years after receiving a bear hug from his father, Earl, Tiger embraced his children, son Charlie, 10, and daughter Sam, 11, his mother Tida, and his girlfriend Erica Herman.
Woods, dressed in his trademark Sunday red and black, emphatically showed he was up to the task, achieving something not only for himself but his kids.
“I think the kids are starting to understand how much this game means to me, and some of the things I've done in the game,” Woods said. “Prior to coming back, they only knew that golf caused me a lot of pain. If I tried to swing a club I would be on the ground and I struggled for years, and that's basically all they remember. Luckily I've had the procedure where that’s no longer the case and I can do this again. We’re creating new memories for them, and it’s just very special.”
At 43, he is the second oldest Masters winner after Jack Nicklaus, and is now three majors short of Nicklaus's all-time record. It was his 81st victory on the PGA Tour, one title away from the career record held by Sam Snead. (UNI)