AUGUSTA, Ga. – If the victory of Tiger Woods over the Masters of 2019 is one of the biggest comebacks in sports history – and it is at least one prominent candidate – the origin will always be traced back to what happened in the 12th hole on Sunday, when the old Tiger Woods suddenly appeared for the first time in 11 years at a big championship.
It was much more than a golf hole. It was psychological drama, the moment when a former champion cleared his domain and the kind of groundbreaking moment that helps rewrite the history of a sport.
Among the many things Woods lost in his audience, he fell out of grace a decade ago, one of the most obvious was his iron decision. Gone was the inimitable power that had enabled him to emerge above – and then stored away – opponents in the melting pot of high-pressure competitions.
It was demolished over time, but it was undoubtedly missed. In the 14 minutes that started at 12.30 pm. On Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club, the famous intimidation factor Woods was rejuvenated. About 90 minutes later, when Woods tried to celebrate a fifth green Masters jacket and celebrate a 15th major golf championship, it was completely restored.
And everyone in the field knew.
"Tiger & # 39; s back," said Brooks Koepka, the two-time defending champion of the United States Open.
The opening phase of the chapter with the day of the cover was when Koepka and Ian Poulter played for Woods in the group. , each fell victim to the mental and physical pressure imposed by the mystifying 12th hole. Each immersed his tee shot in Rae & # 39; s Creek, which separates the green from the tee at a distance of 160 meters.
Koepka and Poulter, who had a challenge for the lead, each double bogeyed and never fully recovered. When Francesco Molinari, who had a two-stroke lead over Woods and played in his group, misjudged and missed his tee, he shot at the twelfth hole in the water. So did Tony Finau, who also played with Woods, and only one blow behind him at the time.
Woods, who played the hole at the Masters for the 86th time, managed to turn more to the left and use enough club to fight through the awkward breeze to safely place his ball in the middle of the green .
But what happened after that really changed the mood and started Woods & # 39; attack on victory.
Woods walked over the Hogan Bridge and stood defiantly on the 12th green look back at Finau and Molinari, while they stood dejectedly on the other side of the water and sniffing through their bags to get another ball and club. trying to cross the creek again
Woods was in their line of sight, standing with his arms crossed or a hand on his hip. He continued to point them with an expression that seemed to say, "Can you hurry up? I have a tournament to win."
Molinari and Finau finally placed their third shots on the green. Woods then got out for his par. Looking at the lightning, Molinari and Finau missed bogey putts that led to matching double bogeys.
With the tournament on the line, four players at the top of the rankings had dropped two hits each. It was 12:44 pm. and Woods, for the first time in the tournament – and the first time since 2005 – was tied for the lead in the Masters.
"It all freaked out at 12; the mistake Francesco made there left many guys back in the tournament, including myself," Woods said later. He added with a devilish smile: "It helps to be experienced. That was all I focused on. Don't be fooled. The other boys ended up short."
And what about stare at the death of the 12th green as he waited for his main rivals to solve their problems in the center of the classically crucial Amen Corner?
Woods lets his actions speak for themselves.
"It's a hard hole," is all he said.
It is especially difficult when Tiger Woods, again commanding and authoritative, is
The victory of Woods revives a debate that has been dormant for years: or the record of 18 years of Jack Nicklaus is still too to surpass is
Woods would not notice about that, either.
"It's a bit fast now, I just enjoy the 15th," he said. "I'm sure I will think a little further."
Woods was hoarse with the primal screams he released after tapping the 18th hole in the last pit to secure his one-off battle. At that time he had celebrated noisily around the green, with unbridled elation and childish spontaneity that he rarely showed when he was 20 years younger.
After that, an always smiling Woods, 43, was even willing to judge his legacy, something he always didn't want to do.
"I have driven a lot more youth to the game," he said. "You know, many of the men who are on tour now are training. They are getting bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic.
" They hit the ball amazing distances, and some of it is probably attributed to what I did. "
But Woods had not neglected his determination or his ability to give his will to the outcome of golf tournaments. It had been missed in the game. At the twelfth hole on Sunday it popped up again and changed the face of the 2019 Masters.
Now the sports world will wait to see if it rewrites golf history in the end.