After over a decade of winning a major title, following a period of serious injury and personal turmoil, American professional golfer, Tiger Woods, produced a scintillating finish to win a fifth Masters title on Sunday, a comeback regarded as the greatest in Masters history.
Tiger Woods had gone nearly 11 years since he won his last major and 14 years since he wore the green jacket. He made it worth the wait, closing with a 2-under 70 for a one-shot victory, and setting off a scene of raw emotion.
The triumph marks a remarkable comeback in Tiger Woods illustrious career who once dominated golf to become one of the most marketable sporting stars in the world.
Woods finished 13 under par for the tournament, a single shot ahead of a trio of compatriots, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele.
It represented his fifth win at the famous Augusta course, 22 years since Woods’ first Masters victory. The victory puts him just three behind the all-time record of major championship victories held by Jack Nicklaus.
“It’s overwhelming, just because what has transpired,” said Woods during the presentation of the green jacket, the prize handed to the annual tournament’s victor.
“Last year, I was lucky to be playing again . . . to now be the champion, 22 years between wins, it’s a long time. But it’s just unreal for me to experience this.”
Woods was written off by so 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.
“I’m a little hoarse from yelling,” said the 43-year-old. “I was just trying to plod my way around all day then all of a sudden I had the lead.
“Coming up 18 I was just trying to make a five. When I tapped in I don’t know what I did, I know I screamed.
“To have my kids there, it’s come full circle. My dad was here in 1997 and now I’m the dad with two kids there.
“It will be up there with one of the hardest I’ve had to win because of what has transpired in the last couple of years.”
Woods’ triumph saw him come from behind in the final round to win a major for the first time. It was also his first Masters victory since 2005.
A slump in form also coincided with revelations of his extramarital affairs in 2009, which led to the breakdown of his marriage. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to reckless driving after being arrested near his home in Florida after being found in his car under the influence of prescription drugs.
Despite the personal setbacks, Woods has long been one of the sporting world’s most bankable stars.
According to Forbes, he earned $43.3m from endorsements from groups including sportswear brand Nike, watchmaker Rolex and golf equipment manufacturer TaylorMade in 2018 alone. This compares to just $1.3m in prize money from competing in tournaments over the year.
Forbes estimates that he has earned $1.5bn since turning professional in 1996, the vast majority gained from sponsors.
Woods has remained attractive to corporate groups because of his earlier record and memories of his spectacular play, long after what appeared to be the best years of his playing career.
He stayed in the hunt for this year’s Masters over the opening three days. On Sunday, he chased down Italy’s Francesco Molinari, who had led at the start of the final round before an implosion over the final few holes allowed Woods to triumph in dramatic fashion
He is now just one behind Jack Nicklaus’ record of six wins at Augusta National and three behind his fellow American’s overall major tally of 18.
The victory marks a remarkable resurgence for Tiger Woods who missed the 2016 and 2017 Masters due to back injuries.