At this year’s Masters Tournament, one of the greatest golf players of all time mounted a comeback that was more than a decade in the making. Tiger has not won a major golf tournament in 11 years, back when he won the 2008 PGA Championship. He went through a ton of difficulties in his personal life: a sex scandal, a stressful divorce, a DUI arrest, and lots of back issues. There was a time a few years ago where he could not even leave his bed. Literally no one saw a future for him, myself included. For me, it was not just all of his scandals and bad behavior, it was his health that made me lose most of my hope for him.
However, Tiger got the help he needed and had multiple miraculous back surgeries. He reformed his style and his overall life altogether. He fought through the numerous people counting him out of the game, and even though I was starting to doubt if he would ever play golf again, I started to gain hope as Tiger started to play again and even perform well.
Then, Tiger was back with a new look. He started to play with a different style. He knew that his body had been under stress from all the hard swings and tough practice he had done. He knew that after his surgeries and his aging, he would never be the same. But he came back with a newfound style of finesse. He was no longer that ball-crushing Tiger; he was one who gloriously embraced his wedge shots and short game. He drained putts characteristic of old Tiger, and after 5 years, had come back to win the 2018 Tour Championship.
That was when I knew that Tiger was back for good. He even was close to winning the PGA Championship just last year. I knew that one of these days, Tiger would clutch up.
And then came the 2019 Masters. Tiger started off okay, carding a 2-under 70 on Thursday. Even so, he was the subject of the entire rest of the week, through all his ups-and-downs. Keep in mind that he never led the tournament until the final day, and yet he still had the most following out of any player. Tiger played pretty well on Friday and Saturday, scoring 68 and 67 respectively to head into Sunday 2 shots off the leader Francesco Molinari.
By now, everyone realized that Tiger had a shot. Was he really going to win the Masters? After everything he went through? And then the iconic red-shirt Tiger Woods made it happen in one of the most amazing and intense final rounds Tiger has ever been through. And it took a lot more than just Tiger’s play on Sunday to make a win happen. The Tiger effect caused leader Francesco Molinari, a man who had not bogeyed in 50 holes, to bogey one hole and double-bogey another, falling to 11-under for the tournament.