By Nick Archacki, news editor
The Masters is undoubtedly the most anticipated event of the year on the PGA Tour. The best golfers from around the world earn their way to the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia with the hopes of walking away with the famed green jacket.
Before the 2019 Masters started, unsurprisingly, the sports world was buzzing about Tiger Woods, arguably one of the greatest golfers to ever play the game.
Of course, there were many questions surrounding the living legend. Where would he place? Would he make the cut? Would he place in the top ten, top five? Would he win?
These speculations arose due to a magnitude of roadblocks Tiger has faced in the past ten years in his personal life and golfing career. Through that time, Woods has dealt with sports critics and long-time golf enthusiasts who said he would never win a tournament again.
However, in Tiger-like fashion, he made the critics eat their words. He brought in the crowd and fans like it was 1997 when he won his first Masters at age 21. He played the Masters like it was 2005 when he won his fourth Masters.
After all of the pain, agony, defeat, doubt, and criticism the icon has faced since 2008, Tiger has thoroughly made golf whole again with his most recent comeback. Finally, after 11 years without winning a major, the 43-year-old, who had four back surgeries in a span of four years, won his fifteenth major title, the 2019 Masters, his fifth Masters.
His Masters win ended the longest drought between Masters titles in golf history, 14 years. Woods is now second for the most wins in Masters history, behind Jack Nicklaus. On a side note, Woods is chasing Nicklaus for the most major titles in golf history; Jack has 18 major wins to Tiger’s 15 major wins.
When Woods sunk his two-foot putt on the 72nd hole of the tournament, he clenched his fist, picked his ball up, and let out a roar to the berserk crowd with both hands in the air, holding the putter that has won Woods 14 of his 15 majors.
Woods walked off the green straight to his family; yelling, shouting, and embracing the historical moment. He won a major in front of his kids and a new generation of golfers for the first time in his life. In an interview, Woods said, “to have my kids there, it’s come full circle. My dad was here in ’97, and now I’m the dad with two kids there.”
As a long-time golfer and Tiger Woods fan, for me to watch him win a major, acknowledge the importance of it, and remember it, I can’t express how elated I was when he knocked his final putt into the hole. I think everyone who’s involved with sports was happy to see Tiger win this tournament and watch his comeback become a perfect ending. This victory is without a doubt the greatest comeback in golf history.
Six-time NBA champion, Michael Jordan, shared his thoughts on Tiger’s victory and return to golf immortality. “To me, it was the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen,” Jordan said. “He [Woods] had to change his game; he had to change his perspective a little bit. They [Woods’ tour opponents] got problems. You don’t know what Tiger’s capable of doing.”
Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods, without exception, is one of the greatest athletes to ever live. For golf, he is the Michael Jordan of basketball; he is the Michael Phelps of swimming; he is the Muhammad Ali of boxing. Woods will be remembered for bringing youth, vibrancy, fans, and excitement to golf. Tiger changed the sport from a formal game to an exhilarating one.
Woods will also be remembered for his comeback and trek back to the top of the golf world. Woods said that he was “completely done with golf” two years ago. Nonetheless, you can’t kill a champion, especially when that champion’s job isn’t finished, even if he couldn’t tie his shoes two years ago.
With his performance in the 2019 Masters, he showed everyone that if you put your mind to your passion and never give up, you can achieve your goal. Tiger is now on the hunt, again, in chasing Sam Snead for the most wins in PGA Tour history. Snead has 82 victories to Woods’ 81.
On May 6, Woods received the highest honor any American civilian can acquire. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump for his courageous fight to make it back to the winners circle on the toughest stage in golf. Woods is now the fourth golfer ever to receive the award with predecessors Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Charlie Sifford being the other recipients.
The question now stands, will one of the greatest golfers, if not the greatest, of all-time achieve 82 wins? I think yes… I think he will get more. Will Woods win the most majors in history? Possibly. I do believe, however, that Tiger will tie Jack Nicklaus at 18 major championships.
Journalism Adviser, Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School