Wednesday, June 26, 2019
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Tiger Woods, the tremendous return to grace of a champion

And "the Tiger" roars. Again and again. It must explode, this joy of the exploit, that it releases them, these thousands of hours, these hundreds of days of suffering, of frustration, of waiting to mope, to see everything in black, to hardly believe in a possible return. And then this April 14, 2019, after a fourth perfect course at Masters Augusta, Georgia (US): Tiger Woods finally returns to victory in a major tournament, eleven years after his last success at this level . So he screams, scratching the vocal cords. He goes up the hill, at the end of the 18the hole, and shouts always, this time to call his son Charlie, 10 years old. Then his daughter Sam, 12 years old. Hugs.

Between descent into hell and hope of rebirth

He will say it later, in a press conference: " I wanted my children to see their father win a Major. I hope they will never forget it ". Yes, until then, the two toddlers had known only the dark side of the huge champion he was. Sam was only a few months away from his last flagship success at the 2008 US Open, and his story since then oscillated between descent into hell, long ordeal, and the hope of a rebirth too often disappointed.

Until the last chance operation in April 2017. The fourth on the back since 2014, after others before knee. Tiger Woods, broken body, by too much stress on his tired skeleton and also abused by an excess of bodybuilding.

The last surgery is to weld two lumbar lower back. The convalescence is tough. The sporting world remembers his arrest in May 2017, at the edge of a road in Florida, haggard driving his car, conscience blurred by taking painkillers. Forfeiture. Nobody then bets big on the ability of the damaged star to write a happy sequel to his legend.

Jack Nicklaus's record in focus

In October, however, it's back on the greens. He begins his season 2018 with some small certainties. He says he no longer suffers, adapts his swing to the new rigidity of his back. " I am in good health, I can play and I am competitive ", He swore before a Masters Augusta 2018 he was going to finish at the 32e square. He was there, and it was already a lot.

But the Tiger did not return to make the figuration. Over the tournaments, he reveals a monster appetite and his crazy desire to return to the race. Ranked past 600e ranked world, he returned to the Top 20 and clinched his qualification for the Ryder Cup in France in late September. The eighth of his career, and also the worst. Still uncomfortable in this competition, he once again pale figure.

Ryder Cup: the magic was European

Ironically, for his last day in Augusta, Sunday, April 14, Tiger Woods was on the course with the impassive Italian Francesco Molinari, who knocked him out at the Ryder Cup. But this time, it was the American who gave the lesson, doubling his opponents in this final lap, a first for him who had never won a major tournament when he was not in the lead before the sprint final. Far-ranging performance.

At the age of 43, Tiger Woods puts on the green jacket of the winner for the fifth time after his titles of 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005. It is his 15e Major success in a career now written over three decades. Only the famous Jack Nicklaus had achieved such a feat before him. And Tiger Woods can dream again at the record of 18 Grand Slam tournaments on which still the same Jack Nicklaus. Evidence: The Tiger can roar. Again and again.

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