Tiger Woods completes improbable comeback, wins 2019 Masters championship


The greatest comeback in sports history was completed Sunday afternoon at a little past 3:20 local time in Augusta, Ga.

After four back surgeries and personal scandals that forced him to rock bottom, Tiger Woods made it all the way back when he claimed his fifth Masters title, finishing at 13-under par.

Woods began the final round two shots back of Francesco Molinari, and through the first 10 holes, it appeared the 2018 British Open champion again would hold off the greatest golfer of all time to claim his second major championship.

But Molinari's tee shot at No. 12 found the water, and after tapping in for a double bogey, Woods found himself tied atop the leaderboard.

Birdies at Nos. 13, 15 and 16 catapulted Woods past Molinari and the rest of a star-studded leaderboard, giving him a two-shot lead while standing on the tee at No. 18.

Woods' tee shot at No. 16 will be remembered for generations, as the 43-year-old followed up his birdie at No. 15 by nearly holing out for an ace.

The Stanford product's tee shot on No. 18 found the right fairway. Needing a bogey to secure the win, Woods laid up with his second shot, and then sent his pitch into the middle of the green, leaving himself a downhill putt for par. The ball barely slid across the edge of the cup, giving him a 2-foot putt to claim his 15th major title and fifth green jacket.

Woods tapped in for bogey and the title, sending the patrons at Augusta National into a frenzy.

After rebuilding his body, courtesy of a fusion surgery on his back, then rebuilding his swing and finally rebuilding his confidence -- thanks to back-to-back top-six finishes at the 2018 British Open and PGA Championship -- Tiger pierced the sky with both fists when the ball found the bottom of the cup. He let out a primal scream as the weight of trying to achieve what some believed to be impossible was lifted off his shoulders. Then, a large smile stretched across his face as the reality of what he had accomplished started to set in.

More than half a lifetime after he rewrote the record books at the 1997 Masters, and 14 years removed from his last green jacket, Woods walked off the 18th green and hugged his children, in an eerily similar sight to that of his late father, Earl Woods, hugging him after his first Masters win.

Sports often give us "where were you" moments.

After Woods' shot on No. 16 rolled within a few feet of the cup, it was clear April 14, 2018, would be one of those moments. This generation's 1986 Masters. The day you'd tell your kids about.

When one of the greatest athletes in sports history showed he wasn't destined to find happiness outside of golf. He showed he has a lot left to give the game.

At a place where imagination takes over and dreams often become reality, Tiger Woods did the unthinkable. And now, he turns his attention to his renewed pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships.

After what he did Sunday on golf's hallowed ground, there's no reason to think Eldrick Tiger Woods can't achieve that as well.

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