Tue, Apr 16, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Redemption tale as Tiger Woods wins the Masters

Reuters, AUGUSTA, Georgia

Tiger Woods of the US celebrates after sinking his putt on the 18th green to win the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

With the cool stroke of a putter under ominous clouds hovering over the 18th green at Augusta National, Tiger Woods on Sunday put an emphatic finishing touch on the most redemptive victory in sports history.

While the scene was a familiar one since Woods came into the week with four Green Jackets, this one was the most improbable given it followed years of surgeries and personal problems that convinced many the best golfer of his generation was done.

However, 43-year-old Woods, who two years ago was barely hitting 60-yard shots as he worked his way back from spinal fusion surgery in April 2017, turned back the clock to deliver the sporting world a tale of redemption unlike any other.

“I had serious doubts after what transpired a couple years ago. I could barely walk. I couldn’t sit. Couldn’t lay down. I really couldn’t do much of anything,” Woods said. “Luckily I had the procedure on my back, which gave me a chance at having a normal life, but then all of a sudden I realized I could actually swing a golf club again. I felt if I could somehow piece this together, that I still had the hands to do it. The body’s not the same as it was a long time ago, but I still have good hands.”

When his tap-in bogey settled in the cup for a one-shot win, Woods threw up his arms in triumph, igniting chants of “Tiger, Tiger” that bounced through the pines as he went on to share celebratory hugs with his mother, two children and girlfriend.

The moment was a long time coming for the former world No. 1, who last tasted major success at the 2008 US Open when his oldest child, daughter Sam, was still an infant.

Since that day, Woods went through a highly public divorce in 2010 after revelations of his marital infidelities convinced him to take a self-imposed hiatus from professional golf, a DUI arrest in 2017, as well as multiple knee and back surgeries.

Woods said one of the things he was most happy about was that his children, who were at last year’s Open Championship when he could not hang onto a back-nine lead, were able to witness it in person after watching him fight pain for so long.

“The kids are starting to understand how much this game means to me and some of the things I’ve done in the game; prior to comeback, they only knew that golf caused me a lot of pain,” Woods said. “If I tried to swing a club I would be on the ground and I struggled for years, and that’s basically all they remember.”

With the win Woods broke Gary Player’s record (13 years) for the longest gap between Masters wins.

When he finally slipped back into the winner’s Green Jacket, a scene many golf fans had longed for, but never thought they would see again, Woods had just two words to say: “It fits.”

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