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Tiger Woods – Your 2019 Masters Champion

Jack Ohmer | Posted on April 15, 2019

Well folks, the wait is finally over; Tiger Woods is officially back on top as your 2019 Masters Champion. After years of overcoming physical and mental adversity, he has proven yet again why he remains quite arguably the most talented athlete in the history of sports. Not only is he an inspiration to us all, but most importantly, he is living proof that anyone can bounce back even harder than they were knocked down.

Coming into the final round, Woods (-11) was 2 shots off of the leader, Francesco Molinari (-13). Paired with Molinari and rising star, Tony Finau (-11), he had a bit of work to do in order to secure this victory. It quickly became apparent, however, that experience played a tremendous role on Sunday at Augusta National. Having been through this situation 4 times before, Tiger was well prepared for what laid ahead of him. Stating that he woke up at 3:45am, you knew that he meant business. While Woods stayed calm, collected, and consistent throughout the entire round, Molinari and Finau quickly crumbled to pieces on the back 9, both recording double bogies that empowered Tiger to make his move. As the final group reached the 18th tee, Tiger held a 2-shot lead, allowing him to take safe shots to win his 5th green jacket at -13 over the weekend. “It fits”, he said jokingly as the jacket was put on him by former Masters Champion, Patrick Reed, inside of Butler Cabin. This was Tiger’s first Masters victory since 2005 and his first major victory since the 2008 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Baby Woods

Tiger Woods as a rising amateur

Tiger Woods as a rising amateur

Even as a child, coming on to the golf scene at the age of 3, Tiger has always been a star. Although he gained much of his popularity through the rising media outlets at the time, Woods faced much adversity as a junior golfer climbing up the national rankings as an African American. Competing at primarily privileged White Golf Clubs, he was constantly ostracized due to his color. Although it would have been easier for him to back down and continue to excel in the classroom (eventually attending Stanford University in California), he used this discrimination as fuel to make him an even stronger individual, proving to others that he was just as good, if not better than the rest.

Tiger’s Downfall

The look of a defeated man

The look of a defeated man

Unfortunately, it seemed as if all of the fame and success had gotten to his head at one point in time. In 2009, news erupted after an incident on Thanksgiving that Woods was a “serial cheater”. After his wife at the time, Elin Nordegren, learned that he had been unfaithful, nearly 120 women came forward stating that they too had slept with Woods. As a result of this, he was dropped by the majority of his sponsors: Accenture, Gatorade, AT&T, Gillette, and Tag Heuer – all of which were giving him between $10-$15 million a year. The only sponsors to stick by his side were Nike and Upper Deck. Sadly, this was only the tip of the iceberg.

Then came years of endless back problems that not only limited how much he could play, but also how well he was able to perform in the tournaments that he played in. After undergoing four spinal fusion surgeries along with endless hours of physical therapy, it appeared that his fairy tale career had come to an abrupt end. Some believed that he deserved it, while others believed that it was a natural result of years of continued practice and dedication to the sport.

Finally, in 2017, Woods had finally hit his rock bottom, receiving a DUI in his town of Jupiter, Florida as a result of the effects of his pain medication. Surely, he must have known that it wasn’t a great idea to get behind the wheel of a car under the influence of anything, but it is understandable that the sense of invincibility that was formed from all of his success could have pushed him to do so. There is no excuse for what he did, but I am not here to point fingers. It is not hard to notice how defeated he looks in his mugshot.

The Comeback

Determined to prove others wrong yet again, Woods made his return to professional golf in December of 2017 at the Hero World Challenge – an unofficial stop on the PGA Tour, however, an important one for many golfers, as he was one of the founders of it. Certain that he was not going to be too much of a challenge for the rest of the golfers in contention after not competing professionally since February of 2016, Woods still surprised many spectators as he was able to hit consistent 300 yard drives. After multiple top 10 finishes throughout the 2018 season, his first shining moment came during the 2018 Tour Championship, defeating Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy. Although Rose ended up winning the FedEx cup, it was clear that the Tiger Effect was back and stronger than ever.

Tiger Effect

The Tiger Effect in full effect at the 2018 Tour Championship

The Tiger Effect in full effect at the 2018 Tour Championship

It was almost as if we were trying to find Waldo.

Thank you

Sure, you could easily say that he was back in that moment, and I would agree with you, but this 2019 Masters victory puts the icing on the cake after years of redemption and reconciliation. Woods stated as a child that he would be better than Jack Nicklaus; he is now only 3 majors away from making good on that promise, and I am going to hold him to it. I truly believe that he is going to make it happen.

The End

To conclude, I would like to say thank you. Thank you, Tiger Woods, for being a great golfer and an even greater inspiration to all people. You are living proof that it is only natural for humans to make mistakes, and that it is up to us individually to learn from those mistakes and rise from the ashes, becoming a better person. Thank you to Nike and the rest of the sponsors that stuck by him throughout his darkest years. Most of all, thank you to all of the fans that never left his side, supporting him unconditionally. Without you all, I doubt that we would be here today. This is one of the greatest moments in all of sports history and I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of it. If only he had cried though…

If you haven’t cried already, here’s Nike’s newest ad.

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