‘I’m just lucky to be able to do this again,’ says Tiger Wood.
When Tiger Woods won the Masters for the first time in 1997 the first person he met when he came off the 18th green was his father, Earl.
Twenty-two years later, when he won it for the fifth, it was his 10-year-old son, Charlie, and his 11-year-old daughter, Sam. “It feels like I’ve come full circle,” Woods said. “My dad was here in 97 and now I’m the dad with my two kids.”
He said how disappointed he had been when they watched him lose the Open to Francesco Molinari last year. “I wasn’t going to let that happen again,” Woods said, “For them to see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope that’s something they will never forget.”Woods did not want to say exactly where this win ranked among his 15 majors. “It’s got to be right up there,” he said, along, you would guess, with that famous first Masters. “With all the things that I’ve battled through, I’m just lucky to be able to do this again.”Two years ago Woods was not able to bend over to tie his shoelaces, let alone swing a club. “I had serious doubts after what transpired a couple years ago. I could barely walk. I couldn’t sit. Couldn’t lie down. I really couldn’t do much of anything.”It came after Woods was accused of a string of extramarital affairs by several women and the couple eventually divorced. After years as golf’s number one player, his world ranking fell to as low as 1,199 at one point after having four surgeries on his back.
US President Donald Trump was among those who hailed Woods’ Masters victory, writing on Twitter: “Congratulations to @TigerWoods, a truly Great Champion!”
Experience helped, especially he said, from that defeat at the Open last year. “It didn’t feel unfamiliar because that was just two majors ago,” he said, “it was just last year in July that I had the lead. So I just kept saying ‘I’ve been here, it wasn’t that long ago. Just go ahead and just keep playing your game, keep plodding along and keep doing all the little things correctly. Miss the ball in the correct spots, be committed to it, even if the wind is puffing up and down, keep committed to it.’ And I was.” Woods picked up birdies at the 13th, 15th, and 16th coming in. Inevitably, the next question for Woods is whether he thinks he will be able to press on and beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. “I really haven’t thought about that yet, I’m sure that I’ll probably think of it going down the road. Maybe, maybe not. But right now, it’s a little soon, and I’m just enjoying this one,” he said.