- Tiger Woods wins the Masters in Augusta for the fifth time – eleven years after his last major title.
- The 43-year-old golfer from the USA wins in one fell swoop on his compatriots Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele.
- Woods manages a comeback, which hardly anyone thought possible.
Mother Kultida stood on the green, his children Sam and Charlie, his partner Erica Herman. They tiptoed around nervously. Tiger Woods tried to suppress glances to his loved ones. He was not through yet. But then came the moment. The moment he had waited eleven years. Eleven years without major victory. Bodily issues. Private problems. A marriage that broke. A wreck after too many drugs. Depreciated. And now? Eleven years after his last major title at the US Open, even 14 years after the last of his four triumphs in Augusta, at the largest golf tournament in the world, he was on the last green. 40 centimeters. A ball. A hole.
And it popped, as the television pictures sent to all the golf world. Golf is certainly different since this April 14, 2019. Because Woods has made a comeback that hardly anyone thought possible. He is back. A miracle that there were no bells, in the state of Georgia. It would have been fair to the occasion.
The now 43-year-old has won the Augusta National Golf Club with a single punch. After four laps he needed 275 strokes for the 72 lanes spread over four days. His compatriots Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele each needed one more. The tall and 61-year-old Bernhard Langer finished 62nd (Martin Kaymer 51st), congratulating Woods on his 15th major victory right in front of the clubhouse. Woods enjoyed the moments extrovertedly as seldom: he jerked his arms up, flaying his manager on the cross, beaming freed, redeemed, animated. On the Internet sports celebrities, tennis pro Serena Williams said she was the size of Woods in tears. Even US President Donald Trump recognized the historic moment and fired a tweet.
"Well, being champion here, after 22 years, is unreal," Woods said before putting on the green winning jacket. In 1997, his star was here, with the first Masters victory. "It's overwhelming," confessed Woods, whom everyone calls only Tiger. He could not remember the last putt a few minutes ago. He just knew, "I was screaming."
The success succeeded in a way that will have its place in history. Of course, Woods turned up this Sunday (because of an announced thunderstorm, the launch was preferred) in the red, half-sleeved sports shirt, which he has always done so. Attack and dominance should radiate the color and intimidate opponents. However, he was on Sunday with the Italian Francesco Molinari and US compatriot Tony Finau on the way, and to Molinari one has to say: He could also play a game of golf with a Grizzly, he would make a face and do his thing. In Augusta, this time was one thing in particular: playing pars. You play par when you need exactly as many hits per lane as given. On a par-4 course he managed a four, on the par-5 course a five, on a par-3 he needed three strokes. At first there was a motto of the final day: all against Molinari, the par-maker.
Molinari actually hits the ball into the water
However, this did not include the defeated Bryson DeChambeau, who caused a jubilation with a hole-in-one, a directly drilled ball on the 16th lane (later also Justin Thomas succeeded). Tens of thousands were crowded around the plant. Woods had put in a wait, as Finau he had started with 11 under par (-11) in the round. Molinari had two strokes (-13) ahead on Sunday.
The hunt began. The three-time Major winner Brooks Koepka started first, closed at -11, now the pursuers were three. Woods managed the birdie on the third track. Now only one shot was missing to Molinari. Ian Poulter, the shrill Briton, suddenly joined in front. When Woods pawed, they were a group of four, which was at -10. Molinari kept lying at -13, it looked comfortable. But saving Pars is risky, it does not always work. At track seven, Molinaris cracked series. A bogey. Instead of four strokes, he had needed five. Woods, on the other hand, made a birdie. And so it was completely open on the last nine lanes. In Augusta, they proudly say that Masters always really starts when the last nine laps begin. It was like that again.
Since Molinari could not pull off furiously (at the eight he countered with a birdie), others moved closer. The chase group enlarged. Patrick Cantlay, once the best amateur in the world, and Xander Schauffele, whose father comes from Stuttgart, were also at minus 10. So it was five players who were led in two digits under par. Every mistake that went down weighed twice as hard. The holes go out, so call the golfer. Koepka, Poulter and Finau beat the famous Par 3 in Amen Corner – that's the name of the holes 11 to 13 – each time the ball into the water. Woods underwent a bogey on the 10th track. The advantage tilted again slightly towards Molinari, who won the British Open in 2018. But new competitors shone, the Australian Jason Day and the two-time Augusta winner Bubba Watson moved up to the top group. It was a wild phase of an exciting tournament.
Then came the train 12 for Molinari. Jordan Spieth romped right here in 2016 lead and title. Molinari? Actually hit the ball into the water. Incomprehensible. Woods laid him solid on the green. For seven professionals the victory was in, then even for ten players, who were all only two strokes apart. It was raining now. At the top: strong turbulence. Five were on par with -12, Woods, Schauffele, Molinari, Koepka, Dustin Johnson. A crime thriller every minute. "I controlled my emotions," Woods later said. Molinari faltered. He showed nerves. At track 15 his ball flopped again in the water. Schauffele patzte. With birdies on the 15 and 16 Woods took off. And could afford a bogey in the end. Shortly thereafter, he had his sweetheart in his arms and said, "I could not be happier."