Tiger Woods completed an epic “full circle” comeback from career-threatening injury and scandal by winning the 83rd Masters on Sunday, capturing his 15th major title with an unprecedented back-nine rally.
Ending an 11-year major drought, the 43-year-old American superstar – who underwent spinal fusion surgery in 2017 due to chronic back pain – seized his first major title since the 2008 US Open.
Woods, written off by so many so often as he battled back problems in recent years, punched the air in delight, a wide smile across his face, before celebrating with his children at the back of the green.
“It’s overwhelming just because of what has transpired,” Woods said. “I could barely walk. Couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t walk. Couldn’t do anything.
“To have the opportunity to come back, it’s one of the biggest wins I’ve ever had for sure.”
Winning a fifth Masters title, and his first since 2005, cemented a fairytale comeback to the pinnacle of golf for Woods, whose career imploded after a 2009 sex scandal and nagging knee and back injuries.
“It’s overwhelming just because of what has transpired,” Wood said. “I was just lucky to be playing again.”
With fans chanting his name, an emotional Woods walked off the 18th green and hugged his mother Kultida, daughter Sam and son Charlie just as he had embraced his late father Earl there after his first major victory at the 1997 Masters.
“It has come full circle,” Woods said. “This tournament has meant so much to me and to have everyone here means so much to me and my family.
“Now to be the champion – 22 years between wins is a long time – it’s unreal for me to experience this. I just couldn’t be more happy, more excited. I’m just kind of at a loss for words.”
Woods fired a final-round two-under par 70 to finish on 13-under 275 for a one-shot victory to capture a $2.07 million (1.82 million euros) top prize and the green jacket symbolising Masters supremacy.
- This was Woods’ first Masters victory since 2005 and he is now just one behind Jack Nicklaus’ record of six wins at Augusta National
- The triumph came 10 years, nine months and 29 days after his last major title at the 2008 US Open
- For the first time Woods came from behind in the final round to win a major
- Woods is three behind his Nicklaus’ overall major tally of 18