Nearly 11 years after his last major victory — the longest drought in golf history — Woods won the Masters by one stroke with a bravura 70 final round, keeping his head while the best of the next generation of golfers lost theirs. Six golfers held at least a share of the lead over the day, five tied with only a handful of holes left. But as it was in 1997, so it was 22 years later: Woods walking off the 18th green to delirious cheers, another green jacket awaiting him — his 15th major win in total.
“Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!” the crowd around 18 yelled, a comeback complete.
The win brought an emotion rarely seen from Woods, who threw up his arms in triumph, unable to wipe the smile off his face. A fist pump. A scream. A massive hug from his son Charlie, who wasn’t born the last time Tiger won one of these.
With all due respect to the vast talents of Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari et. al., there are two storylines at every Masters: Tiger Woods, and everyone else. That’s not media bias or wishful thinking, that’s objective reality. Tiger draws the largest and loudest galleries, Tiger pulls in the biggest ratings, Tiger summons cheers at Augusta that don’t sound like anywhere else on earth.
The difference in 2019 as opposed to recent history is this: Woods arrived in Augusta with his first legitimate chance to win in more than half a decade.He’d missed three of the last five due to health reasons, and he’d been irrelevant in the other two. Now, though, he’s as golf-ready as a 43-year-old can be, with another PGA Tour win in his pocket since last year.
Woods remains the biggest story in golf, but not the only story. Koepka is riding a Tiger-esque majors hot streak — two of the last three, three of the last seven — and Molinari has punched Tiger in the face while winning both the British Open and the Ryder Cup over the last nine months.
Tiger Woods reacts as he wins the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Augusta, Ga. (AP)