In a spectacular return to past glory, Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters on Sunday, his first victory in one of golf’s four major tournaments in over a decade.
Woods energized fans as he pulled ahead during the Masters’ fourth round in Augusta, Georgia. He entered the final day tied for second place, two shots behind Francesco Molinari. By the 18th hole, he held a two-shot lead. With that cushion, he bogeyed the last hole to shoot a two-under-par 70 on Sunday, winning the tournament with a score of 13 under par. Three players finished a stroke behind him.
Woods’ triumph marked his fifth Masters title; he previously won the green jacket awarded its victor in 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2005. Sunday’s win also was the first time he had won any major without holding at least a share of the lead going into the final round.
Woods now has 15 major titles under his belt, placing him three behind record holder Jack Nicklaus, who has 18.
“It’s overwhelming, just because of what has transpired,” Woods said shortly after a tap-in on the 18th hole gave him his latest win. “Last year, I was lucky to be playing again.”
Woods, 43, had not finished first in a major championship in nearly 11 years; he won the U.S. Open in June 2008. And he has faced turbulence in his personal life since his last Masters win in 2005.
His father, Earl Woods, who mentored his golf game from the time Tiger was a toddler, died in 2006. His marriage and subsequent divorce become tabloid fodder in 2009 after a sex scandal made headlines, and he was arrested for a DUI in 2017.
Also over the past decade, Woods has undergone multiple surgeries, including four operations on his back, as he’s attempted to return to the top of his game. In 2017, Woods underwent a spinal fusion to alleviate pain in his back and leg. Just last month, he withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational due to a neck strain.
Fans, including fellow athletes, rejoiced on Twitter over his triumph, agreeing that Woods’ comeback was complete and historic.
President Donald Trump joined in on congratulating Woods, lauding him as “a truly Great Champion!”
Woods’ win also accomplished the nearly impossible ― putting Trump on the same page as his White House predecessor, Barack Obama. The former president chimed in with his praise for the golfer:
This story has been updated with more details on Woods’ victory and reaction to it.