They said it couldn’t be done. But what do they know? Done and dusted, down and out, dead and buried? Tiger Woods was all that during a tumultuous period of personal, professional, physical, and psychological torment which saw him plumb the kind of bleak depths that only deep sea submersibles could reach.

Miraculously, magically, momentously, he’s alive and kicking again after this astonishing Masters conquest. The scenes of rampant exultation as he putted out on Augusta’s 18th green to complete his fifth win in this corner of Georgia were something else. This truly was one of sport’s greatest ever stories.

Eleven years since his 14th and last major victory, win No 15 will be the most significant of the lot. Well, until he reaches Jack Nicklaus’ record haul of 18, of course.

Let’s not get too carried away. But who would bet against him doing that now? Woods continues to show that miracles in this game do happen, after all. He even admitted that at the Masters a year ago when he described himself as “a walking miracle.”

Yesterday, he proved that he is over a course, where 22 years ago, he began altering the face of golf with his maiden major success in 1997.

If Gene Sarazen’s famous albatross in the 1935 Masters was the “shot heard round the world”, this latest, jaw-dropping twist in the staggering Tiger tale will probably have been heard in outer space.

Woods roared himself hoarse at the denouement while the patrons in the galleries bellowed their lungs dry amid the ecstatic, exhilarating pandemonium.

Did you ever think you’d see this day again? C’mon, be honest. Whatever the future holds for Woods, the date April 14, 2019 will remain etched in golfing history.

Despite all his toils and troubles, despite the emergence of a new generation and despite all the doubts surrounding his health, nobody in golf moves the needle quite like Woods.

Last night, that needle was pinging off the scale. Reams of additional newsprint were probably being bussed in. The internet, meanwhile, was in danger of overheating.

The threat of thunderstorms in the area, which were forecast for later in the afternoon, had forced tournament officials into an early, two-tee start in an effort to beat Mother Nature. Thankfully, they did. And at the age of 43, Woods also put one over on Father Time too.

The greatest comeback in sport? That remains debatable. Ben Hogan, of course, suffered injuries that nearly killed him in a car crash before winning the US Open at Merion 16 months later in 1950.

But, by goodness, Woods’ recovery from a shattered back - “I couldn’t get from point A to point B in the house” – as well as the arrest for DUI which saw his police mugshot beamed around the globe remains a remarkable feat.

Not long after Woods had slipped on the green jacket, the klaxon at Augusta sounded to signal the incoming storm and the area had to be cleared. The golfing gods must have come to some sort of arrangement with that aforementioned matriarch of all things meteorological. Nothing was going to rain on Tiger’s parade.


On a wonderfully chaotic final day, Woods, resplendent in his usual Sunday red, held his nerve while others around him lost theirs.

Amid a dizzying series of twists and turns, he carded a closing 70 to finish at 13-under-par, one shot ahead of Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka, the reigning US Open and US PGA champion.

Overnight leader Francesco Molinari, who had shown wonderful fortitude over three days, was two clear with seven to play but wobbled dreadfully on the run-in, dumping his tee shot on the 12th into Rae’s Creek and also double-bogeying the 15th. The Open champion had to settle for a tie for fifth with Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and Jason Day. It was an agonising end for the Italian.

This was the first time that Woods had won a major when trailing after 54 holes and it came 3,954 days since he beat Rocco Mediate in a play-off for the 2008 US Open, despite a double stress fracture and knee injury which prompted season-ending surgery.

It was also just two years since he told Jack Nicklaus “I’m done” during the Champions Dinner at Augusta National, after which he flew straight to London to see the consultant who recommended he undergo what proved to be career-saving spinal fusion surgery.

Molinari began the day with a two-shot lead over Woods and Finau and found himself three clear after six straight pars, but Woods closed the gap to a single shot with the aid of back-to-back birdies to set up a thrilling finale. Woods had ridden his luck at times in his third round of 67 and finally paid the price for a wild drive on the 10th, the resulting bogey dropping him two behind Molinari, who saved par superbly after pulling his approach left of the green.

However, the wind was playing havoc on the daunting par-three 12th and Molinari, Koepka, Ian Poulter and Finau all plonked their tee shots into the water guarding the front of the green.

Sensing his opportunity, Woods played safely away from the pin and a somewhat nervy par, after leaving his birdie attempt five feet short, gave him a tie for the lead as Molinari could not get up and down following a penalty drop.

An engrossing day then took another twist as Patrick Cantlay, who only made the halfway cut with a shot to spare, followed his third round of 64 with five birdies and an eagle on the 15th to briefly claim the lead, only to bogey the next two holes.

Birdies from Johnson and Koepka made it a mind-mangling five-way tie before Molinari’s mishap on the 15th, where Woods two-putted from long range for birdie to take the outright lead for the first time.

Woods was then inches away from the third hole-in-one of the day on the 16th and tapped in for birdie to double his lead, allowing him the luxury of a bogey on the last before the exuberant celebrations could begin as chants of ‘Tiger, Tiger’ reverberated around the 18th green.

“I’m a little hoarse I think from yelling,” he said in the Butler Cabin before getting his arms in another green jacket.

“It’s overwhelming because of what has transpired.

“Last year I was just lucky to be playing again, I was really struggling, I missed a couple of years of this great tournament and to now be the champion... 22 years between wins is a long time.

“It’s unreal for me to experience this. I couldn’t be more happy and excited, I’m kind of at a loss for words.

“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.”

Woods added: “I was just trying to plod my way around all day, all of a sudden I had the lead coming up 18 trying to make a five.

“When I tapped in I don’t know what I did, I just know I screamed.”

Woods then embraced his son Charlie, daughter Sam and mother Kultida behind the 18th green.

This truly was one of golf’s greatest days.