There’s been a tone of buzz around Tiger Woods’ historic Masters win and while many know of its significance for the obvious reasons, there are so many more that make it as special as it is. Here’s what you may have missed if you haven’t been following golf (or Tiger Woods) closely over the course of the past 10 years or so.
Reason #1: He hadn’t won the Masters in 14 years
This is one of the more obvious reasons – 2005 feels like a lifetime ago. His triumphant win over Chris DiMarco was one for the ages, including some crazy weather and some of Tiger’s more famous shots. This all happening after Tiger shot a 74 in the first round. Even after a few close wins in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2013, fans had been looking to fill the void of seeing the infamous Tiger road at Augusta National.
Reason #2: He hadn’t won a Major in 11 years
Again, one of the more known reasons, but still.. do you realize how long 11 years is? We’re not talking about 400+ days, we’re talking about golf terms. There were many instances during those 11 years that so many people said Tiger would never win another major, some didn’t think he would win (or even compete) in another tournament. This stretch between majors was the first of its kind since Jack Nicklaus’ win in 1986 (consider Tiger’s was almost double the time gap).
Reason #3: He hadn’t won a Major when trailing after 54-holes
Just take a second to think about it. Tiger Woods won his first 14 majors, all when leading (or co-leading) after the first 54 holes. From his 1997 Masters win, to his 2002 US Open win at Bethpage Black, to his 14th win in 2008.
Reason #4: Francesco Molinari seemed unbeatable
Molinari aside, let’s start with Tiger’s 2018 season (for Majors). He finished T-32 at the Masters, missed the cut at the US Open at Shinnecock Hills (of course, the one I was there for), then he lost to Molinari (T-3) at the Open Championship at Carnoustie, and finished 2nd to Brooks Koepka at the PGA (Bellerieve).
Tiger Woods got significantly better as the season went on. Then the Ryder Cup happened when Molinari went 5-0 including his win over Tiger Woods. At this point, Francesco looked unbeatable, and this is before he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational before the Players.
Regardless of how you look at it, Francesco Molinari was (and still is) viewed as one of the best and most feared players on the planet. After Molinari’s performance through the front 9, nobody saw him budging, but that was never in the presence of a revived Tiger Woods!
Reason #5: His spinal fusion surgery
Let’s start this with some backstory. Tiger Woods was a phenom from the very beginning, and even after his 1997 Masters win, everyone said the same thing. The kid is amazing, but his swing is too violent and he won’t be able to stay healthy. Since, he had 4 knee and 5 back surgeries.
The final back surgery? He had a spinal fusion surgery. Not only was this not a normal surgery, it was out of absolute necessity. In 2017, Tiger Woods wasn’t able to walk, let alone play golf. The purpose of the spinal fusion surgery was for a better quality of life… he wanted to be able to play with his kids. At that point, nobody thought he would play golf again, let alone compete professionally, let alone win THE MASTERS! In just a year and a half, Tiger went from someone who had to literally be carried up the stairs to a Masters winner.
Reason #6: The celebration
As many of us have seen, Tiger was… well, very happy after winning the 2019 Masters. After his win, he went to give his son Charlie a huge hug, which looked almost the same as when he gave his father a hug after winning his first major (the 1997 Masters).
In that moment, all of his fans not only saw their hero defy the odds, but they saw his life come full circle. He overcame his injuries, beat the best players in the world and celebrated in a way that was so familiar after all of these years. It was almost angelic.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is why Tiger Woods’ 2019 Masters win was so very special.