Tiger Woods completed an epic comeback from career-threatening injury and scandal by winning the 83rd Masters on Sunday, capturing his 15th major title to end an 11-year major drought.
The 43-year-old American superstar, who underwent spinal fusion surgery in 2017 due to chronic back pain, seized his first major title since the 2008 US Open.
Winning a fifth Masters title, and his first since 2005, cemented a fairytale comeback to the pinnacle of golf for Woods, whose career imploded after a 2009 sex scandal and nagging knee and back injuries that required a total of seven surgeries.
With fans chanting his name, an emotional Woods walked off the 18th green and hugged his mother Kultida, daughter Sam and son Charlie just as he had embraced his late father Earl there after his first major victory at the 1997 Masters.
It’s been a long, memorable career. Here’s a look at the US superstar’s five Masters victories:
1997: First major
Woods blazed to a record 18-under par total in winning his first Masters. At 21, he became the youngest player to win at Augusta National and the youngest major championship winner since World War II. His 12-shot margin of victory over Tom Kite was a Masters record and as the first African-American to win the Masters he expanded the game’s audience.
“That was by far the most important tournament I’ve ever won,” Woods said. A key consideration back then – earning a 10-year exemption on the US tour.
“You guys laugh at it now, but it was the coolest thing in the world,” Woods once recalled.
2001: Tiger Slam
Woods became the first golfer to hold all four major trophies simultaneously, carding three straight rounds in the 60s on the way to a two-stroke victory over David Duval.
A third-round 66 keyed a victory that made Woods just the third golfer, after Jack Nicklaus in 1965-66 and Nick Faldo in 1989-90 to repeat as Masters champion.
2005: The Chip
Woods was locked in a last-round battle with Chris DiMarco when he produced a shot that has become part of Masters lore. Having missed the green at 16, Woods aimed his chip well left of the pin to let the ball funnel down the slope toward the hole. For an agonizing moment it paused on the lip of the cup before tumbling in. He would go on to beat DiMarco with a 15-foot birdie putt at the first playoff hole.
2019: Drought ends
Woods had one successful season behind him when he arrived at Augusta National this year, having contended in two majors in 2018 and won the US PGA Tour Championship to confirm his return from spinal fusion surgery.
But doubts lingered over whether he would be able to win again on the game’s biggest stages, doubts that Woods quelled as he erased a two-shot third-round deficit to beat Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka by one stroke.
Woods, trailing by two through 11, birdied the 13th, 15th and 16th to march past a faltering Francesco Molinari to an emotional victory.
With inputs from AFP