Tiger Woods says Masters win still hasn’t sunk in
‘It’s very similar to what it was in 1997 and that took me years to understand’
Tiger Woods celebrates on the 18th hole after winning the 2019 Masters. Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Tiger Woods admits he has yet to come to terms with winning his fifth Masters title at Augusta National.
Woods feared his career was over after three operations failed to solve his back problems and meant he only played a total of 24 tournaments in the space of four years.
It was only after undergoing spinal fusion surgery in April 2017 that Woods was able to fully return to the highest levels of the sport, a comeback capped by winning his 15th major title after an 11-year drought in the Masters.
“I’ve just been home and letting everything thaw out and just trying to understand what I (have) accomplished,” Woods said in an interview with Golf TV. “But I haven’t, I don’t think, come to grips with it yet.
“It’s very similar to what it was in 1997 and that took me years to understand what I had accomplished, and I don’t think this one will settle in for quite some time.”
Woods won his first major title by 12 shots in the 1997 Masters, famously completed the ‘Tiger Slam’ at Augusta National in 2001 having won the US Open, Open Championship and US PGA in 2000, and also claimed the green jacket in 2002 and 2005.
“This one feels special in its own way,” the 43-year-old added. “This year, to go 14 years between jackets is a long time.... and on top of that to actually have won my first major championship coming from behind.
“It’s so ironic, given my last few years of what I’ve kind of had to battle through, that now is finally the time I finally come from behind when I’ve had more game throughout the years, and I’ve had more runs, and I’ve been in situations where I’ve been in better spots. For some reason I got it done.”
Attention now turns to whether Woods can equal or surpass Jack Nicklaus’s all-time major record of 18 wins, especially with some favourable venues on the horizon.
Next month’s US PGA Championship is being staged at Bethpage, where Woods won the US Open in 2002, and June’s US Open will be held at Pebble Beach, scene of his 15-shot triumph in the same event two years earlier.
“Well, I always thought it was possible if I had everything go my way,” Woods said. “It took him (Nicklaus) an entire career to get to 18. Now that I’ve had another extension to my career, one I didn’t think I had a couple years ago, if I do things correctly, and everything falls my way, yeah, it’s a possibility.
“I’m never going to say it’s not — except for a couple years ago when I couldn’t walk.”