2019 Masters: Perfect timing: Tiger Woods turns back clock at Augusta National – Golf Channel

2019 Masters: Perfect timing: Tiger Woods turns back clock at Augusta National - Golf Channel
Tiger Woods completes miracle comeback with epic Masters victory
After all the scandals, all the injuries, all the surgeries, all the drama, all the hes-done declarations, Tiger Woods has won the Masters. In 2019.

Nearly 11 years after his last major victory — the longest drought in golf history — Woods won the Masters by one stroke with a bravura 70 final round, keeping his head while the best of the next generation of golfers lost theirs. Six golfers held at least a share of the lead over the day, five tied with only a handful of holes left. But as it was in 1997, so it was 22 years later: Woods walking off the 18th green to delirious cheers, another green jacket awaiting him — his 15th major win in total.

2019 Masters: Tiger Woods storms leaderboard, wins fifth green jacket in furious finish

The win brought an emotion rarely seen from Woods, who threw up his arms in triumph, unable to wipe the smile off his face. A fist pump. A scream. A massive hug from his son Charlie, who wasnt born the last time Tiger won one of these.

What was it like in MLS the last time Tiger Woods won a major?

Im a little hoarse from yelling, Woods said afterwards. … When I tapped the putt in, I dont know what I did; I know I screamed. To have my kids there, its come full circle. My dad was there in 97 [when he won for the first time], and now Im the dad.

Another was Webb Simpson, who shot 64 and rose to 9 under overall. And Patrick Cantlay, who finished his 64 15 minutes before the last twosome had even teed off, let everyone know that Augusta National was in a docile mood, ready for its belly to be rubbed. The 27-year-old Californian had failed to fashion anything in the 60s in eight previous Masters rounds – so if he could go so low, anyone could.

With all due respect to the vast talents of Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari et. al., there are two storylines at every Masters: Tiger Woods, and everyone else. Thats not media bias or wishful thinking, thats objective reality. Tiger draws the largest and loudest galleries, Tiger pulls in the biggest ratings, Tiger summons cheers at Augusta that dont sound like anywhere else on earth.

The difference in 2019 as opposed to recent history is this: Woods arrived in Augusta with his first legitimate chance to win in more than half a decade. Hed missed three of the last five due to health reasons, and hed been irrelevant in the other two. Now, though, hes as golf-ready as a 43-year-old can be, with another PGA Tour win in his pocket since last year.

Woods remains the biggest story in golf, but not the only story. Koepka is riding a Tiger-esque majors hot streak — two of the last three, three of the last seven — and Molinari has punched Tiger in the face while winning both the British Open and the Ryder Cup over the last nine months.

For so many, “moving day” at the Masters turned into something else quite enjoyable – “cruise ship limbo contest day,” in which some of the world’s leading limberbacks challenged each other to see how low they could go. Finau was but one of three players to challenge the course record of 63 and come up just short.

Tiger Woods reacts as he wins the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Augusta, Ga. (AP)MoreThursday began under one of those classic Augusta skies, blue and deep and breezy, with the gallery buzzing and the birdies flying. This was one of those future of golf days, where Koepka and mad scientist Bryson DeChambeau took the early lead at -6. Right behind them: Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and the usual collection of leaderboard cameos. Molinari and Woods lurked further down the leaderboard at -2.

“I carried the clubs and prayed that he was going to hit good shots,” Molinari said earlier this week summing up a much more simple experience. He knows, however, what it is like to be in the Woods wave pool, having played with him in the final round on the way to winning last year’s British Open.

Then came Friday, which was without question one of the strangest days in recent Masters history. Big names came out firing, and by the days end an unprecedented five major winners — Molinari, Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott and Jason Day — shared the lead at -7.

But we expected all that. What we didnt expect was an enthusiastic security guard becoming part of Masters lore by slipping and sliding right into Woods ankle while trying to hold back a vicious Augusta gallery. Woods hobbled for a moment but ended up birdieing the hole, and CBS promptly memory-holed the footage.

It worked. Rather that retreat, Woods rattled off three straight birdies, got his putter working and put himself just where he wanted to be. “That was the goal today, to start at 6 (under) and make sure I got to double digits. And I was able to do that,” he said. 

Saturday was King Kong, Godzilla and Mothra all elbowing for space, with Tony Finau sneaking in there amongst them. Molinari, who once caddied next to Woods at a Masters, put distance between himself and the field with the relentless, mechanical precision of an avalanche. Woods and Koepka kept pace, and Finau snuck in with one of the three 64s on the day.

A guy who carried a bag while grouped with Woods 13 years ago at the Masters rose to the lead will now play with him here as an equal. All that Francesco Molinari is carrying on the course this time is some Italian national pride, known to be rather prominent.  

With ugly weather on the way, Augusta National moved tee times up — way, way up — almost six hours earlier than normal, splitting the field into two and tripling up the pairings. So there wasnt much time to meditate on what a Masters Sunday with Tiger Woods in sight of the lead might mean to history before the leaders teed off.

“I think the key for me is to go out (Sunday) and just do my thing. Keep staying aggressive like I was trying to be today. Hit the shots. Hit the middle of the club face as often as I can and make smart decisions, and well just take it from there.”

Early on, Molinari seemed invincible, running his par streak to 49 holes and, as of the sixth hole, posting a three-stroke lead on the field. Molinaris dead-eyed stare and clinical perfection — plus the fact that he had history against Woods — seemed to bode well for his chances, and ill for everyone who wanted to see Woods win his first major since 2008.

And what was the gist of that analysis? “Just be patient, very simple,” Woods said. “The golf course is certainly gettable, a lot of scores going out there. Just be patient. Let the round build. Weve got a long way to go.”

But then Woods nearly drained his approach on 7, Molinari bogeyed for a two-shot swing, and the door cracked open just a wee bit. Five holes later, Molinari put a shot into the drink on 12, and everything on the course turned sideways in a hurry, from the leaderboard to the skies.

While all around him players were putting up the smallest of integers, Woods began his Saturday haltingly. A bogey on the par-4 5th hole, leaving him 1 over for the day, seemed to lead him engage in a serious discussion with himself.  

Molinaris shot into Raes Creek, fired just as the rain was starting to fall, dropped him into a tie with Woods, who played it safe on 12 and went for dry land rather than a risky shot at the pin. But the misfire also kicked the door wide open for a host of unlikely leaders, including Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay. Golf Twitter virtually ignited for the three minutes or so that Cantlay eagled 15 and grabbed the solo lead at -12. He promptly gave back the lead on the very next hole, but it was a nice run for a moment.

» Round review: Look back at Sunday’s final round » Michael Cunningham: Woods shows he has golf left to play» Return to form: Another Tiger roar echoes at Augusta » What about Bubba? Watson briefly challenged » Masters notes: No. 16 yields two holes-in-one » Fall from leaderboard: Double double-trouble sink Molinari .

Patrick Reed helps Tiger Woods with his green jacket after Woods won the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Augusta, Ga. (AP)MoreA couple strokes down the leaderboard, a horde of last-minute dive-bombers threw red numbers up on the board, trying to force their way into the green jacket conversation; Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Jon Rahm and Day pounded their way into double-figure below-par scores.

Woods birdied the 15th and 16th holes to capture the 2019 Masters at 13-under par. His birdie at No. 15 came at 1:41 p.m. and gave him the solo lead for the first time on the day and separated him from a crowded leaderboard. He all but sealed the dramatic victory on the next hole with a four-foot birdie putt on No. 16.

Day was the first one to the clubhouse, posting a mark of -11 after a clutch birdie on 18. At the time he finished, two players were tied with him and three sat one stroke ahead.

After a 11-year hiatus, Woods won his 15th major and fifth Masters championship on Sunday with a back-nine charge at Augusta National. It came as would-be challengers fell by the wayside.

But Days clubhouse lead grew flimsier by the minute. Johnson birdied 17 and Koepka birdied 15 to join Woods, Schauffele and Molinari at -12.

Again: thats four major winners — and Xander Schauffele — tied at -12 with four holes left to go in the Masters. If this wasnt the greatest collection of talent ever to top a leaderboard this late in a major, itd do just fine until someone came up with one.

Woods went through well-document personal and injury issues. He has battled all the way back to reclaim the Masters, where he won his first major back in 1997.

And then the wheels started coming off. Molinari was the first to go, sending his hopes to a watery grave when he popped his approach on 15 off a branch and into the water. Fowlers home-run swing fell just short, and he bogeyed the 18th. Johnson just skirted a birdie putt to finish at -12 and knock Day out of any chance at a playoff.

It’s Woods’ first Masters title since 2005 — a record 14-year gap. Gary Player went 13 years between two of his Masters wins.

Woods, meanwhile, took the solo lead at the Masters with three holes to play after a smooth birdie on 15. He followed that with the second-best shot hes ever pulled off at the 16th, a curling drop that left him inches for birdie.

Two-shot lead. Two holes to go. And all of a sudden it was the early 2000s again, Tiger Woods in red, walking down the fairway at Augusta after a perfectly striped tee shot, the gallery on its feet cheering him. The figure that Koepka, Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and so many others had admired as kids was here, stepping out of Golf Channel reruns to bust them down the leaderboard.

The last time Tiger won a major, his daughter was about to turn 1, his son not even born. Sunday, both were greenside to witness something theyd only ever heard about. At 43, Tiger Woods became the second oldest winner of the Masters, behind Jack Nicklaus.

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

In one of sports most well-documented personal comeback stories, Tiger Woods won The Masters on Sunday, his first major win since June 16, 2008.

Its been a long time coming for the golf legend and it serves as a conduit to remind us what was going on in our own lives 11 years ago. What was MLS like back then?

Well, for starters, the Seattle Sounders had yet to play an MLS match. Ditto for the Philadelphia Union, Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers, Montreal Impact, NYCFC, Orlando City SC, Atlanta United, Minnesota United, LAFC and FC Cincinnati. So, yeah, a few things have changed.

The Houston Dynamo were the reigning MLS Cup champions while the Columbus Crew were on their way to winning 2008 MLS Cup. The 2007 leader in shutouts was Brad Guzan (for Chivas USA!).

Luciano Emilio was the reigning Golden Boot winner, with his 20 goals in 2007 finishing just ahead of Juan Pablo Angels 19, while Landon Donovan was in the process of claiming the award in 2008, with 20 goals ahead of Kenny Coopers 19. 

Current LA Galaxy manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto would soon be named 2008 league MVP for his heroics in the Crews title-winning season. 

Over on the West Coast, David Beckham was in his first full season with the LA Galaxy, Claudio Reyna was still playing for the New York Red Bulls, long before he would be leading the NYCFC front office.

Cuauhtemoc Blanco was the leagues second-highest paid player behind Beckham. David Ferreira — the 2010 MVP — had yet to star for FC Dallas. His son, Jesus Ferreira, has two goals for the club this season.

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