A familiar roar could be heard making its way around the fairways and greens at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday April 14, a roar that had not been heard at Augusta’s famous Master’s Tournament in 14 years. The roar reached its peak at the 18th green when golfer Tiger Woods sank a short putt to win his first major tournament in 11 years and first green jacket since 2005.
Woods has battled through plenty of adversity since his last major victory in 2008. Some of his troubles were self-inflicted and some weren’t. He put his family through a great deal of pain and paid the consequences for it. His battles with his health are also well known—not even two years ago, Woods was unsure of whether or not he would walk again, let alone play golf.
Everything seemed dim until April 2017 when Woods had his fourth back surgery in a two-year span. The surgery changed everything, and Woods found he could not only walk without any pain, but also swing a golf club without any pain. A comeback was now feasible, and Woods got to work.
Returning to professional golf was no easy task and, while Woods may be able to golf competitively, there was no guarantee he would win. His comeback was especially daunting considering the rise of many young golfers like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson since his days as the undisputed best golfer in the world.
Woods began his career’s “second act” during the 2018 PGA season. Woods played well and was even in the mix in the final round at two majors, the PGA Championship and Open Championship.
He finally broke through and won at the 2018 Tour Championship. It was not a major, but it was an event against the best in the world. It proved that Woods could beat the best.
Woods entered the 2019 season with renewed confidence, although many still doubted he could play well enough over four rounds to win a major tournament. Woods positioned himself to prove the naysayers wrong at the 2019 Masters after a solid opening three rounds of golf. He entered the final round in the final grouping and just two shots off the lead.
Woods played patiently all day and when the leader, Francesco Molinari, hit a shot into the water at hole 12, he finally began to make his move. With birdies on 13, 15 and 16, Woods was able to carry a two-shot lead with him onto the 18th tee. He only needed a bogey to win and that is what he scored on the final hole to bring home the win.
When his winning putt dropped, the crowd at Augusta erupted in a way the golf course had never seen before. Woods pumped both fists into the air and after a short celebration went over to embrace his mother and his kids.
Many will categorize this comeback as one of the greatest in the history of sports and they would be right, but it was also one of the greatest moments in all of sports.
The emotion surrounding the 18th hole at Augusta was evident even to those watching the event at home. Nobody has ever been so revered in the game of golf as Woods and nobody ever will be again. Woods has suffered long enough in the 11 years since his last major win and nobody in sports is more deserving than him of the moment seen around the world on Sunday.