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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Golf

Tiger Woods comes full circle with dad celebration at Masters

Tiger Woods son Charlie

Life has come full circle for Tiger Woods.

22 years ago, in 1997, Woods won the Masters for his first career major. He was just 21 at the time, had recently turned pro, and became the youngest Masters winner ever. Woods celebrated his first career major win by hugging his late father Earl, who died in 2006.

22 years later, in 2019, Woods overcame an 11-year major slump to win his 15th career major. He won at Augusta National once again for his fifth career Masters. This time, his father Earl was no longer around. Instead, Tiger celebrated with his son, Charlie, who never met Earl and had never witnessed his father win a major.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Tiger said of the situation. “My little boy Charlie … the embrace, it’s just special.”

Tiger is now 43 years old and still has time to try and tie Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 career majors. Jack has already offered his support to Tiger. For now, fans will enjoy Tiger finally being back on top.

Watch: Jim Nantz delivers ‘return to glory’ call of Tiger Woods’ 15th major

Jim Nantz often plans out his lines for when something big happens in a sporting event he calls, which is why many were wondering what he would say upon Tiger Woods winning his first major since 2008. Well, Woods won the Masters on Sunday, and we learned what Nantz’s call would be: “return to glory.”

Take a listen to the big moment:

This was Tiger’s fifth career Masters win and 15th major win overall, triggering an outpouring of fan support and celebration. He’s now three majors behind Jack Nicklaus, who offered a message of support for Woods.

Jack Nicklaus sends message to Tiger Woods after Masters win

Tiger Woods is officially back, and the only man who has won more major championships than him is happy to see it.

Jack Nicklaus, winner of 18 major championships and considered by many to be the greatest golfer of all time, was not at Augusta National on Sunday to watch Woods win the Masters. He did, however, send along a message to Tiger immediately after the 43-year-old captured his fifth green jacket.

“A big well done from me to Tiger. I am so happy for him and for the game of golf,” Nicklaus said, as read by Jim Nantz on the CBS broadcast. “This is just fantastic.”

Woods entered the final round two shots back of then-leader Francesco Molinari. The victory marked the first time in his career that he has come from behind in the final round to win a major.

While it will still be extremely difficult for Tiger to break Nicklaus’ record of 18 major wins, his performance at the Masters this year proves he is still capable of playing at an elite level. As long as he can remain healthy, there’s no reason Woods can’t win another major or two before his career is over.

Tiger Woods accomplishes surprising first during Masters win

Tiger Woods has accomplished just about everything during his Hall of Fame golf career, but he managed to do something he had never done before en route to winning his 15th major championship on Sunday.

Woods entered the final round at the Masters at 11-under, which was two shots back of then-leader Francesco Molinari. While it may be difficult to believe, Tiger had never come from behind on the final day of a major to win. In his previous 14 victories, four of which came at the Masters, Woods had the lead heading into the final round and never looked back.

Like most winners at Augusta National, Tiger got some help from other players at the top of the leaderboard who made crucial mistakes. That said, it is still remarkable that Sunday was the only time in his career he came from behind to win. What a way to capture your fifth green jacket.

Tiger Woods’ girlfriend Erica Herman supports him at Masters

Tiger Woods Erica Herman

Tiger Woods was married to ex-wife Elin Nordegren the last time he won a major back in 2008. Then his golf career was derailed after she discovered he was cheating on her. Nothing was a better symbol of how much his life has changed since then than the group there to support him as he attempted to win his first major since 2008 — and fifth Masters overall.

Woods’ mother, children Sam and Charlie, and girlfriend Erica Herman were all there supporting:

Sam was born in 2007 and didn’t know her dad as the major-winning machine. Charlie was born in 2009, after he had won his last major. And Herman was the symbol for his new life since his highly-publicized divorce.

Herman and Tiger have been public with their relationship since Oct. 2017. He has started to come around in his golf career — three back surgeries later — and is getting back on track.

Dustin Johnson: Tiger Woods fan support is on a different level

Dustin Johnson putt

Dustin Johnson knows that the fan support for Tiger Woods is different from anything else.

Johnson was among a group of players contending for the lead at the Masters on Sunday. After he completed his round, shooting a four-under 68 to finish 12 under, he talked about the experience. While Johnson said he had fun, he noted how much different the support for Tiger was than anyone else.

“It was a lot of fun today. You could hear the roars, and you can definitely tell the difference between a roar for me or a roar for Tiger (Woods). But I had a lot of fun out there today,” Johnson said in an interview with CBS’ Amanda Baliones.

Xander Schauffele also talked after he completed his round about the energy from the crowd.

“The crowds are incredible. I just sort of fed off the crowds. I was hearing roars from behind, which sort of pushed me forward,” Schauffele said.

The fans had been waiting a long time — since 2008 — to see Tiger win another major. You can understand why they were so fired up. He inspired a total mob scene with his Tour Championship win in Atlanta in September, so the fan support was not a surprise.

Michael Phelps cheers on Tiger Woods at Masters

Michael Phelps Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods turned back the clock with his performance on the back nine at the Masters on Sunday, and another athlete who understands the meaning of domination appeared to be taking it just as seriously as the 14-time major champion.

Woods hit one of his best shots of the day at the par-3 16th hole, leaving himself with a tap-in birdie to take a two-shot lead. He intensely stared down the shot while it was in the air, and Michael Phelps was shown standing behind him with an almost identical look on his face.

Few people understand what Tiger is going through more than Phelps, so it’s no surprise he appeared to be enjoying the ride.

Woods got some help during the final round when other players at the top of the leaderboard went into meltdown mode, but all in all he turned in one of his best performances in a very long time.