Return of The Roar: The day never became remembered forever
AUGUSTA, Ga. – He was done. Everyone knew it. Even Tiger Woods.
At the 2017 Masters, Woods’ back was so ravaged that he needed a nerve blocker just to attend the Champions Dinner. Slumped in his chair, searing pain shooting down his legs, he leaned forward and whispered to a fellow green jacket: “I’m done. I’m done. My back is done.”
Photo: Golf Monthly
Fourteen years removed from his last Masters title, 11 years after his most recent major, a few years since his private life became tabloid fodder and his game sank to embarrassing lows and his body betrayed him, Tiger Woods improbably won another major championship. For the first time in his storied career, he came from behind to win a major, chasing down Francesco Molinari on the second nine and then hanging on for a one-shot victory.
There has been no shortage of instant classics throughout Woods’ career: The 1997 Masters signaling the start of a new era; the 2000 U.S. Open capping the greatest golf ever played; the 2001 Masters and the completion of the Tiger Slam, a monument to his extraordinary talent. But this Masters, at age 43, was a deeply personal achievement, a warning shot that his pursuit of Big Jack’s 18 majors isn’t over yet, and arguably his most impressive feat in a career full of them.
“It’s got to be right up there, with all of the things that I’ve battled through,” Woods said afterward. “I was just lucky enough and fortunate enough to be able to do this again.”
So much was different about major No. 15 – his body and swing, his competition and perspective – but the biggest change of all was waiting for him behind the 18th green. His two children, Sam, 11, and Charlie, 10, have known him only as the YouTube golfer – as the living legend who twirled his clubs and pumped his fists and pummeled an entire sport into submission. But all they’d seen recently was him at his lowest, in unimaginable pain, incapable of kicking a soccer ball in the backyard, or driving them to school, or even summoning the strength to roll out of bed, the reason he kept a urine bucket next to his nightstand.
And so as Woods walked off the green to a thunderous roar, a major winner again, he screamed, "WOOOOOOO!" and bear-hugged Charlie – a scene reminiscent of when Tiger collapsed in the arms of his own father, Earl, in ’97.
“For them to see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship," Woods said, "I hope that’s something they will never forget.”