AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods’s comeback from private adversity is full: He captured his fifth Masters title and his 15th main event on Sunday, snapping a championship drought of almost 11 years.
It was a monumental triumph for Woods, who had not gained a significant championship since his private life started to unravel on Thanksgiving evening in 2009, when a marital dispute led to a automobile accident and a succession of lurid tabloid headlines. On the golf course, he had a collection of again and leg accidents that led to an dependancy to painkillers and culminated in ache so searing that, earlier than surgical procedure in 2017, he had questioned whether or not he may play professionally once more.
Woods, who at 43 grew to become the second-oldest winner of the Masters at Augusta Nationwide, after the then 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus in 1986, final achieved main success in one in every of golf’s 4 main tournaments on the 2008 United States Open.
He had come shut on some Sundays to successful his 15th main through the years however couldn’t get it performed. But after the surgical procedure in 2017, a spinal-fusion process he known as a “final resort,” he started a brand new lease on his profession.
His pursuit of Nicklaus’s document 18 main championships, which appeared a foregone conclusion when he sprinted to 14 main titles in his first 11 years as knowledgeable, is now formally again on.
Final 12 months, Woods made 18 PGA Tour begins, his most since 2012, and posted his first victory since 2013, on the Tour Championship. He additionally contended within the final two majors of the 12 months, the British Open and the P.G.A. Championship, on the way in which to top-6 showings at every event. These outcomes, he stated, boosted his perception that he may contend this week at Augusta Nationwide, the positioning of his first main triumph, by 12 strokes, in 1997.
Woods, in his 22d Masters look, closed with a ultimate spherical of 70 and completed 13 beneath par at 275, one stroke higher than Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele and Dustin Johnson. He took the lead with simply three holes to play after a birdie putt on the par-5 15th gap and held on from there. With thunderstorms forecast for the late afternoon, organizers of the Masters moved up the beginning instances by 5 hours and positioned gamers in teams of three somewhat than the normal two to hurry play.
However by the point the event leaders went into the second half of their rounds on Sunday, the wind picked up and it briefly started to rain.
Each of the gamers with whom he was grouped within the ultimate threesome, Francesco Molinari, 36, and Tony Finau, 29, described Woods as their childhood idols. Each finally succumbed to the stress of the ultimate spherical, however Woods didn’t.
And now, after greater than a decade of being caught in place, Woods all of a sudden appears to have a full head of steam transferring ahead. The subsequent two majors, the P.G.A. Championship at Bethpage Black on Lengthy Island in Might and the USA Open at Pebble Seashore in California in June, are at programs the place Woods has gained earlier than. He appears primed to take action once more.