The Tiger Roars Again: Woods’ Upset At Augusta
By: Tommy Zimmer – “Hey, Tiger, Feherty from Pyeongchang where I’m freezing my… where it’s really cold,” David Feherty, a former professional golfer and current television personality, said. “I just wanted to welcome back to Riviera even though, I’m not here. I was there for so many of your appearances, and I know that you’re on your way back and everyone is looking forward to seeing you play. Over the last 20 years, I’ve been proud to call you my friend, and I’m really glad to see you on the road back to recovery. If you can stay healthy, I know that you can win. I know that you can win.”
This was truly spectacular for a reason. During the 14 previous major wins, he was either in the lead or tied after 54 holes. However, he was playing from behind this time. Francesco Molinari of Italy put Woods two behind him. He had defeated Woods at the British Open the previous year. When Sunday came along, Woods shot two-under-par 70 and finished at 13-under 275. The journey to that victory was not easy for Woods. A pink alarm clock may have helped things though.
Throughout the week, Woods trailed by four after opening with 70. He was one behind after a second-round of 68. He was behind by two shots after closing the third round with 67. Throughout it all, Woods had 22 birdies. He hit 58 out of 72 different greens. Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele both had 68s and Brooks Koepka had 70. Molinari, 74 with double bogeys on holes 12 and 15, tied for fifth with Jason Day, 67, Webb Simpson, 70, and Tony Finau, 72 at 11-under.
Finau, who was paired with Woods and Molinari during the final grouping of the day, noticed Woods’ rebirth. “When you’re someone like me in my shoes still trying to come up, still trying to win majors, still trying to contend, you can’t beat playing with the best player in the world, the best that’s ever done it and just see if you can get the job done is cool,” Finau said. “I wanted to get the job done today but Tiger is great for the game and, again, unbelievable that he’s winning his 15th major today.”
Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament Chairman Fred Ridley proclaimed it an amazing day. “It was an epic Sunday and a great day for golf,” Ridley said. “It’s one of the most amazing days in our history.”
Woods started to see things changing when he won the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia during September of last year. This marked his first victory since 2013, which gives Tiger 81 PGA Tour titles. “East Lake was a big step for me, confirming that I could still win out here and against the best players,” Tiger said. “Because East Lake, obviously it’s the hottest 30 guys for the year. It gave me a lot of confidence going into this year, and just keep building on it and let’s try to get the mind and body peaking towards Augusta. Woods is coming back from a lot of problems in the past many years.
Once he began to experience knee issues in 2008, he soon had knee surgery after winning the 2008 U.S. Open. He had a ligament removed that prevented him from playing golf until the next year. Soon after he became the seventh-best player in the world, details emerged that he had an affair with Rachel Uchitel, a New York City nightclub worker in 2009, a mere five years after marrying Elin Nordegren in 2004. US Weekly published an expose on Woods, his alleged affair, and others around that time too.
While Woods apologized, his problems got worse when he was involved in a careless driving incident in November 2009, which might have been caused by substance abuse. The next year in 2010, he lost many promotional deals including Gatorade and General Motors, leading to Woods issuing an apology. Then, he and Nordegren divorced. Seven years later, Woods underwent spinal fusion surgery in 2017, which was the latest in many surgeries he went through. Then, the worst happened.
Later that year, Woods was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He told the police he was in surgery recovery. When law enforcement arrested him, he seemed to have fallen asleep. His car was found to be running and not moving. It was located in a lane of traffic. Woods stated he did not realize the prescription drugs he was taking would interact the way they did.
As 2017 continued on, he completed an out-of-state intensive program to address how he handles his pain and medications. He skipped an arraignment on August 9, entering a not guilty plea via his attorney and agreed to take part in a first-time DUI offender program and later had another arraignment. While these have been devastating events for Woods, it’s evident now that he has made the grand return we had all hoped he would make. It’s time for the Tiger to roar once more!
Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery, and the entertainment industry.