Woods’ Masters Tournament Victory Selects Sports History of the Year
A green jacket. An emotional embrace. A moving return to the top by one of the best golfers in history.
E n choosing the victory of Tiger Woods at the Masters as a sports story of the year by the Associated Press, the panel of sports journalists elected the event that marked the imaginary all at the expense of several other events touched on sport as much as the societal issues that affected sport in 2019: politics, money and the growing pressure for equal rights for women.
Woods’ spectacular victory in Augusta was preferred to that of the American soccer team at the Women’s Soccer World Cup, where competition was overshadowed by the fight for equality for women led by the American captain Megan Rapinoe and her teammates.
But Rapinoe has not been the only one in the past year to use sport as an example to address glaring societal issues. Of the 12 stories retained, rare were those that were limited to action on the playing fields.
Everything else – including the wrong referees decision that cost the New Orleans Saints a chance to participate in Super Bowl, a California law that threatens to overthrow NCAA rule for the benefit of the athletes and Simone Biles at the world gymnastics championships, against the backdrop of the sport’s sexual abuse crisis in the United States – were part of the events that transcended sport.
In the same category
It is no exaggeration to say that Woods’ Augusta victory in April – considering all the events and the decade before it – also fell into this category.
His downfall first began in the early morning after American Thanksgiving in 2009, when he knocked down a fire hydrant in front of his house in Florida, setting off an avalanche of stories about his infidelities, which ultimately leads to a divorce. This story plunged into a state of torpor the career of one who was considered by many to be a hero.
Woods’ physical condition subsequently deteriorated. Back pain and several operations forced him to end his season in 2016 and 2017, so much so that Woods believed his golfing career was now a thing of the past.
Through thick and thin, Woods has sort of continued to nurture his love for golf, until he can get fit on the greens.
He came close to winning two major tournaments in 2018 – the British Open and the PGA Championship – before winning the end-of-season circuit championship.
But winning a regular tournament does not have the same prestige as winning major tournaments.
It was on this sacred ground, on the greens of Augusta National, that Woods had built his reputation in 1997, crushing his opponents by 12 shots. A performance that gave him the chance to don the famous green jacket for the first time. After completing the 18th hole that day, Woods was quick to hug his father Earl – whose death will have left a huge void in the life of the golfer.
Woods later enjoyed fame and fortune, winning 15 major titles, and was crowned champion of the Masters Tournament four times.
It was necessary to wait for almost 11 years after the conquest of his last major title to see him again put on the green jacket over his red polo shirt, tear in his eye.
On that day, Woods, who handed in a 70 (minus-2) card, did not miss a single major shot in the last seven holes, taking the lead with a 5-iron shot to the 15th green and two rolls to register a birdie on this par-5. He went on with a phenomenal iron blow-8 in the 16th, a par-3, sending his ball two feet from the cup before setting a short putt for another birdie.
And at the same place where he had found his father 22 years earlier, Woods this time raised his 10-year-old son Charlie, born a year after the conquest of his 14th major title at the United States Open in 2008. He then hugged his mother, then his 11-year-old daughter Sam, and all those around him as he went through a stormy divorce, an embarrassing arrest for drug-impaired driving and a series of surgeries .