Tiger Woods… will have to wait for sixth Masters. Pic: Getty/ Augusta National
Nov 16: Nineteen months after winning his fifth Masters and 15th Major, Tiger Woods came to his favourite playground, the Augusta National Golf Club, seeking history. A sixth Green Jacket would tie him with Jack Nicklaus for the most wins in Masters history and it would also take him past Sam Snead’s 82 PGA Tour wins and get him sole pole position in the list PGA Tour winners.
A bogey-free 68 in the first round augured well; a tightly packed leader board showed him five behind and T-17, exactly where Nicklaus was when he won the sixth Masters in 1986.
But then the script went awry. Woods shot 72 in the third round and fell way behind. And on the final, Woods made a septuple-bogey – that for uninitiated is a seven-over for a hole – 10 on the par-3 12th hole.
He hit three balls into the water and recorded his first double digit score on a single hole in his entire PGA TOUR career.
Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson (68)left all behind in a manner Woods once used to do. Johnson won by a five-shot margin with a record total of 20-under – the previous record was held by Woods and Jordan Spieth.
‘Tiger’s 10’ on Par-3 12th hole
Woods hit his tee shot into the water on the 12th. After taking a drop, Woods’ third shot found the green but spun back into Raes Creek. Another penalty.. He hit his fifth shot into a back bunker, but when he tried to blast his way out of the sand shot, he sent the ball over the green and back into the water. Another drop and then he hit into the fringe, missed the putt and then finally holed it with his 10th stroke.
Twice Woods’ had ‘eights’ at Augusta National. He made an 8 on the par-5 eighth hole in 1999 and an 8 on the 15th hole in 2013.
Yet, Woods showed his mental strength with five birdies in last six holes, including four in a row on last four holes for the first time in his career at Augusta. He signed for a 76 and finished T-38, his worst four-day finish as a professional at Masters.
The only time he finished worse at Augusta was when he missed the cut as an amateur in 1996.
With his own event, the Hero World Challenge put off till 2021, the Masters will probably be Woods’ last start in 2020.
Since 1995, when he first played Augusta as an amateur – and was T-14 to be the best Amateur – Woods has missed starting the Masters three times. He missed it in 2014, 2016 and 2017. He has won five times; been runner-up twice; been third once; been in Top-5 a dozen times and been in Top-10 14 times. No words needed.