Greatest comeback in sports history – the Masters 2019

From Issue 9


Would you believe me if I said that the greatest comeback in sports history would begin in the Summer of 2008 and conclude in the rolling hills of Augusta, Georgia, 11 years later? Would you believe me if I said that Tiger Woods, after all the adversity and disappointment, would slip on the coveted green jacket once again? The popular answer to this question two weeks ago was simple:  not a chance. Well now, think again. 

The roars were loud Sunday afternoon–and not just those on the course. As the crowd inside the ropes of Augusta National grew more energetic, so too did the millions of viewers watching at home. “Are you watching Tiger?” echoed in almost every household. Along with those watching home, there was Tida Woods, Tiger’s mother, inside the clubhouse screaming at the television. There were his two children–Charley and Sam–who watched behind the 18th green as their father came down the stretch. 

There were only two real competitors who stood in Tiger’s way late in the afternoon on Sunday. Francesco Molinari, an Italian who took home last year’s Claret Jug from the British Open, and Brooks Koepka, a three-time major champion and one of the many young golfers who fell in love with the game because of Tiger Woods. In a post-round interview, Koepka said, “Tiger made it cool to play golf…Yes, I am bummed about the second place finish, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Molinari held the outright lead going into Sunday, which did not bode well for Woods. Molinari is a storied finisher on the PGA Tour, and putting it quite frankly, he does not make mistakes. Well, Sunday at the Masters can change people. Molinari put two balls in the drink, missed countless birdie opportunities, and could not get up and down for par. Molinari hitting his tee shot into the water at the historic 12th hole changed everything, giving Woods the opening he needed.

Woods made birdies at the 13th and 15th holes to take the outright lead on the final day of the Masters for the first time since his victory in 2005.  

Then came what was perhaps his shot of the tournament: a perfect 8-iron at the par-3 16th  that landed on the down slope and trickled toward the cup, sliding just past the hole. He made the 4-footer for birdie and claimed a two-shot lead over the field. 

With a bogey putt tap-in on the 18th green, Woods threw his hands up in the air, signifying the end of his comeback. The gallery that had been as quiet as an empty church exploded when the final putt dropped. Wearing his dad’s colors, the red shirt and black hat, Tiger’s son raced into his father’s arms behind the 18th green.

Tiger hugged his two children on the 18th hole, just like he hugged his late father all those years ago after winning the Masters. The Woods children and an entire generation of boys and girls discovered something Sunday they had never seen before–Eldrick Tiger Woods is no longer a YouTube highlight, or a video game superhero. He is a current major champion, and one we will never see again in our life