Woods wins Masters to claim first major in 11 years
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- With an achievement already called one of the greatest comebacks in sports, Tiger Woods is on top of the golf world again.
It came because of something he has done before -- he won the Masters.
But it had been awhile, making it perhaps rating as more remarkable for one of the greatest competitors in all of sports.
"One of the hardest I've ever had to win," Woods said of winning his fifth green jacket.
Woods notched three birdies down the stretch and claimed his first Masters championship since 2005 on Sunday, April 14, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta.
Woods shot 2-under-par 70 to finish at 13 under, a one-shot victory.
Woods had a bogey on the last hole, but his short putt for the victory was followed by a small fist pump before thrusting his arms in the air.
Then he was greeted by his mother and children.
"To have my kids here, it has come full circle," Woods said. "My dad was there (when I won my first Masters) in '97, and now I'm the dad."
He won his 15th major, the second-most all-time behind Jack Nicklaus' 18. Woods had been without a major title since the 2008 U.S. Open.
The 43-year-old Woods is the oldest Masters champ since Nicklaus won at age 46 in 1986.
When Woods put on the green jacket presented by 2018 champion Patrick Reed, he responded, "It fits."
The 11-year gap between majors is the longest for any golfer to win multiple such championships. Woods endured personal trauma and family controversies and an array of injuries, most notably his back, making this championship something that many observers deemed impossible.
This one came with all sorts of back-nine drama and contenders until Woods grabbed control.
His victory came at the end of an eventful week. Two days earlier, he was tripped by a well-meaning security guard after hitting a shot, marking one of the endearing memories of his latest championship quest.
Woods was two shots behind Italy's Francesco Molinari when the final round began.
Xander Schauffele (68), Dustin Johnson (68) and Brooks Koepka (70) shared second place at 12 under.
Molinari (74), Webb Simpson (70), Australia's Jason Day (67) and Tony Finau (72), who was tied with Woods at the start of the round, tied for fifth at 11 under.
Woods had birdies on Nos. 13, 14 and 16 -- the latter after putting his tee shot on the par-3 layout just a couple of feet from the pin.
Other golfers were in awe of Woods' latest accomplishment.
"It's awesome," Schauffele said. "I think that it's clear to say or easy to say that everyone out here wants him to play well."
Koepka said: "He's just good, man. What else can I say?"
Earlier, despite back-to-back bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes, Woods recovered with birdies on Nos. 7 and 8.
Molinari had gone more than 2 1/2 rounds without a bogey until he posted a 5 on No. 7. It was only his second bogey of the tournament.
At about the time Woods was recovering from a wayward tee shot on No. 11 to save par, Koepka took a double-bogey on the 12th hole to fall from a share of second place to eighth.
Then Molinari's tee shot on No. 12 went into the Rae's Creek, resulting in a double-bogey and he was out of the lead for the first time all day. A double-bogey on No. 15 doomed him.
There was a five-way tie for the leader at 12 under before Woods drained a birdie putt on No. 15 for his first solo lead of the tournament.
It already was an unprecedented day for this storied tournament. Because of stormy weather approaching, a decision was made Saturday for Sunday's round to be played in threesomes and for golfers to start on the first and 10th holes.
That meant all the golfers began their rounds by 9:30 a.m. rather than midafternoon tee times for the leaders.
Patrick Cantlay continued his torrid weekend play. After Saturday's 64 catapulted him into contention, he was 4-under in the final round through 11 holes and in a share of the lead briefly after an eagle on No. 15. He had bogeys on the next two holes and ended up with 68 -- and 10 under for the tournament.
Bryson DeChambeau, who was a first-round co-leader but had since fallen off the pace, had a Sunday highlight with his first hole-in-one as a professional. Starting on the backside, he aced the par-3 16th hole. DeChambeau (70) finished tied for 29th at 4 under.
Justin Thomas also had a hole-in-one on No. 16 in the last round. He had a 70 and tied for 12th at 2 under.
Reed, the defending champion, had his best round of this year's tournament with a 69, but he ended up tied for 36th at 2 under.