Tiger Woods has sealed one of the greatest comebacks in sport with a momentous Masters victory at the Augusta National, capturing his first major in 11 years.
At 43, and two years after spinal fusion surgery, Woods captured his fifth Masters title and his 15th major with a one-shot victory on Sunday to trigger ecstatic scenes of joy around the 18th green.
Woods was helped into the green jacket by last year’s winner Patrick Reed. “Yeah buddy! It fits!” he said.
The victory comes 14 years after the last of his Masters titles. He is now three short of the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus and is the second-oldest Masters winner after Nicklaus.
“It’s overwhelming, because of what has transpired,” said Woods.
“Last year I was just very lucky to be playing again. I missed a couple of years of playing this great tournament. And to now be the champion … what, is it 22 years [since his first Masters]? It’s a long time! It’s unreal.”
Woods hugged his mother Kultida and children Sam and Charlie, who were waiting greenside, amid chants of “Tiger, Tiger” from the vast crowds thronging the green and the clubhouse.
“My mom was here, she was here in ’97 as well. I’m kind of at a loss for words. This is up there. It’s one of the hardest I’ve ever had to win. I was close last year in the majors. I learned from those, and was able to seal the deal today.”
“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,” he said.
Woods had never won a major after trailing after three rounds, but he took the Masters by the scruff of the neck in a late surge with birdies at the 13th, 15th and 16th.
He missed a putt for par on the 18th before finishing with little more than a tap-in for a round of 70, 13 under par for the tournament.
Fellow Americans Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka tied for second place at 12 under, while four players – Jason Day, Webb Simpson, Francesco Molinari and Tony Finau – were a further shot back.