Nicklaus major record in play again for Woods

Bessie Dean
April 16, 2019

It was the American's first win at Augusta since 2005, and there's a lot less hair on the 43-year-old's head now than there was 14 years ago. It was a win that didn't just tell the golfing world that Woods was healthy and able to compete, it was a victory that sent out a warning to every one of his fellow professionals that he's back in the business of winning major championships again.

Even before this Masters' title, he contended in the final two majors previous year, briefly tying for the lead in the final round of The Open and trailing by just one on the back nine at the PGA Championship.

Woods, who used to nearly disdain the press, patiently and with a smile answered reporters' questions for close to an hour and was never condescending, even to the most inane question, as he might have been in the past.

Sunday's win brings it all back into play, though, if only because Tiger himself knows he can do it once again. "I don't foresee that ever going away", he says.

"He's got me shaking in my boots", Nicklaus good-naturedly said in a Golf Channel interview on Sunday. "You couldn't have had more drama than we all had out there, and now I know why I'm balding".

Besides donning the coveted green jacket, Woods earned a sizable paycheck: $2.07 million, which is the standard 18 percent of the total pot. And as he holed the putt that brought to an unlikely end a drought that few had foreseen and even fewer foresaw being broken, the 15-time major victor crept one step closer to Jack Nicklaus' unrivaled 18 titles.

Sunday's thrilling victory puts the former world No.1 just three majors behind the all-time record of Jack Nicklaus.

"It really is a comeback story that I think rivals anything that's ever been written", he said. I thought he was ready, raring to go to win a major again and it only took him two more tries.

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The road to this Masters victory started in September, just two hours up the road, when Woods won the Tour Championship in Atlanta for his first victory since 2013. But I had a good feeling that the way I was [playing] that I was going to be in the mix.

Tiger Roars at Augusta are different than at any other tournament. This win gives Woods 81 PGA Tour titles, one shy of tying Sam Snead's record.

"I had serious doubts after what transpired a couple of years ago", Woods said.

"I was trying to push myself, but I feel like I got a very full Masters experience here in my second year".

"You couldn't have had more drama than we all had out there", Woods said. Knowing all you have been through physically to come back and do what you just did today?

So while I still don't think he catches 18, it is - this feels impossible but is actually true! - at least conceivable that he does.

One local industry observer, who requested anonymity for lack of authorization to discuss these numbers, said if the weather had not forced rescheduling, the average rating for Woods' victory likely would have been as high as 12.0, peaking with at least 20 percent of the market's TV homes.

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