Tiger Woods gave the sporting world a moment to remember with his thrilling Masters victory and hopes his children will never forget witnessing his redemptive triumph first hand.
Woods famously embraced his late father Earl after winning his first Masters in 1997 and 22 years later he was the proud parent celebrating a fifth Green Jacket with daughter Sam and son Charlie at Augusta National.
Charlie was not even born when Woods last tasted victory in a major in the 2008 US Open and Woods said: “It’s unreal for me to experience this.
“I couldn’t be more happy and excited, I’m kind of at a loss for words. To have my kids there, it’s come full circle. My dad was here in ’97 and now I’m the dad with two kids there.
“My little boy Charlie, that embrace is just special. Sam lost a State soccer tournament yesterday so I convinced her to come up and watch the Masters and luckily I was able to win.
“They were there last year at the Open Championship when I had the lead on that back nine and I made a few mistakes, cost myself a chance to win The Open title.
“I wasn’t going to let that happen to them twice so for them to see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope that’s something they will never forget.
“Prior to my comeback they only knew that golf caused me a lot of pain.
“If I tried to swing a club I would be on the ground and I struggled for years, and that’s basically all they remember.”
Woods, who even suggested he might let his children take his Green Jacket to ‘show and tell’ at school, had roared with delight after tapping in on the 18th green for a closing 70 and one-shot victory over Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele.
Just two years earlier he had needed a nerve blocker in order to attend the pre-tournament Champions Dinner and feared that his career was over.
“I’m a little hoarse I think from yelling,” the 43-year-old added.
“It’s overwhelming because of what has transpired. Last year I was just lucky to be playing again, the previous dinner I was really struggling, I could barely walk.”
Woods started the day two shots behind Open champion Francesco Molinari and only took the outright lead for the first time with a birdie on the 15th.
After almost making a hole-in-one on the 16th, the tap-in birdie doubled his lead and Woods added: “I was just trying to plod my way around all day, all of a sudden I had the lead coming up 18 trying to make a (bogey) five.
“When I tapped in I don’t know what I did, I just know I screamed, then I was looking for Joey (LaCava, his caddie) somewhere. You couldn’t have had more drama than we all had out there, and now I know why I’m balding. This stuff is hard.”
He later thanked his supporters on Twitter, sharing a photograph of himself with the trophy and wearing the Green Jacket.
“I can’t thank my family, friends and fans enough for their support,” he tweeted.
“Having my family by my side today is something I will never forget. To not only be able to play again, but to be able to win again, is something I will forever be grateful for.
“This jacket sure is comfortable.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Tiger Woods has won his first major title since the 2008 US Open in the 83rd Masters at Augusta National.
Here, Press Association Sport delves into some of the 43-year-old’s remarkable career numbers:
3,954 – days since victory over Rocco Mediate in a US Open play-off at Torrey Pines.
81 – the victory is Woods’ 81st on the PGA Tour.
4 – number of back operations since March 2014.
1,199 – Woods’ ranking in the world in November 2017. Victory at Augusta National means he will be sixth in Monday’s updated standings.
14 – years between Woods’ fourth and fifth victories in the Masters.
15 – career major wins, second only to Jack Nicklaus’ 18.
683 – weeks he has spent at world number one during his career, a record.
281 – consecutive weeks spent as the world’s best golfer, which is also a record.
1997 – the year of his first major triumph, at the Masters.
5 – Woods is one of five players to have won all four major titles.
48 – His score for nine holes at the age of three on the Navy golf course in Los Alamitos.
1 – Woods is the only player to hold all four major titles at the same time, winning the US Open, Open Championship and US PGA in 2000 and the 2001 Masters.
Tiger Woods held his nerve on a wonderfully chaotic final day at Augusta National to win his 15th major title, and a first in 11 years, in the 83rd Masters.
Amid a dizzying series of twists and turns, Woods carded a closing 70 to finish 13 under par, one shot ahead of Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka, the reigning US Open and US PGA champion.
Overnight leader Francesco Molinari was two clear with seven to play but dumped his tee shot on the 12th into Rae’s Creek and also double-bogeyed the 15th, the Open champion having to settle for a tie for fifth with Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and Jason Day.
It is the first time Woods has won a major when trailing after 54 holes and comes 3,954 days since he beat Rocco Mediate in a play-off for the 2008 US Open, despite a double stress fracture and knee injury which prompted season-ending surgery.
And it is just two years since he told Jack Nicklaus “I’m done” during the Champions Dinner at Augusta National, after which he flew straight to London to see the consultant who recommended he undergo what proved to be career-saving spinal fusion surgery.
With thunderstorms forecast to hit the course in mid-afternoon, tournament officials took the unprecedented decision to move the tee times forward by several hours, with players sent out in groups of three from both the first and 10th tees.
Molinari began the day with a two-shot lead over Woods and Finau and found himself three clear after six straight pars, but Woods closed the gap to a single shot with the aid of back-to-back birdies to set up a thrilling finale.
Woods had ridden his luck at times in his third round of 67 and finally paid the price for a wild drive on the 10th, the resulting bogey dropping him two behind Molinari, who saved par superbly after pulling his approach left of the green.
However, the wind was playing havoc on the daunting par-three 12th and Molinari, Koepka, Ian Poulter and Finau all dumped their tee shots into the water guarding the front of the green.
Sensing his opportunity, Woods played safely away from the pin and a somewhat nervy par, after leaving his birdie attempt five feet short, gave him a tie for the lead as Molinari could not get up and down following a penalty drop.
An amazing day then took another twist as Patrick Cantlay, who only made the halfway cut with a shot to spare, followed his third round of 64 with five birdies and an eagle on the 15th to briefly claim the lead, only to bogey the next two holes.
Birdies from Johnson and Koepka made it a five-way tie before Molinari’s mishap on the 15th, where Woods two-putted from long range for birdie to take the outright lead for the first time.
Woods was then inches away from the third hole-in-one of the day on the 16th and tapped in for birdie to double his lead, allowing him the luxury of a bogey on the last before the exuberant celebrations could begin as chants of ‘Tiger, Tiger’ reverberated around the 18th green.
“That will be the greatest scene in golf forvever,” said six-time major winner Nick Faldo, commentating for CBS. “We will never see anything as exhilarating as that.”