At the Masters ends Tiger Woods, a victory in itself

Augusta, Georgia – Tiger Woods was 212 yards to the fifth green on Sunday morning and holding a long iron, he swung with appropriate speed and rhythm. But when he hit the golf ball, something was wrong, and after a millisecond it took Woods to move from the swing down to the next, he let go of the club and threw it to the ground over his left shoulder.

The shot bounced 30 yards from the target, and Woods winced. His shoulders drooped. He sighed, pulled a club out of the grass and slowly limped forward, strongly preferring the right leg, reconstructed surgically after his car crash on February 23, 2021.

The Masters 2022 tournament, which began a week ago with smiling Woods, is excited to return to Augusta’s National Golf Course surrounded by a group of supportive colleagues, played out in small, humble ways in recent hours.

Woods ’mistake on the fifth hole of Sunday’s final round was one of many mistakes, in this case the second of three straight lights on the front nine. From the moment he was stunned by the inspiring starting round below 71, Woods was weakening to pieces – he was betrayed by a sore right leg, a sore back that bothered the cold weather, and demands to walk and play for seven days in a row for the first time for the first time in 17 months.

By Sunday, the crowd bustling in its first rounds of the tournament had shrunk considerably as fans rushed to take the lead in the fourth round, which took place three hours later.

But as Woods walked up the hill to the 18th Green, a sizable crowd of visitors waiting for him applauded.

After a double boogie at number 17 and a four-foot kick at number 18, Woods finished round six at par. He swung his arms with his playmate John Ram, tilted the cap of the crowd and walked out of the green field, smiling and limping.

That wasn’t the conclusion Woods speculated on when he wanted an incredible return to elite competitive golf less than five months after announcing that his days as a top player were almost over. But Woods categorically does not consider his four-day result in this year’s tournament as a measure of his appearance at this year’s Masters.

After the first round on Thursday, Woods, who for a quarter of a century was famous for saying that his only goal in any competition was to win it, was asked if winning was just an appearance at the “Augusta National”.

“Absolutely,” he replied. “Absolutely so.”

It was a revealing confession for Woods, but it illuminates the image as he slowly climbs the hilly terrain on Sunday, often frowning. He will not finish anywhere near the leaders, but still finish what he started.

Woods is unlikely to play again until the PGA Championship in mid-May in Tulsa. Woods said his further schedule could be modeled after Ben Hogan returned from a 1949 car crash. Hogan had fractures of the collarbone, pelvis, ribs and ankles, as well as other serious injuries. Hogan won the US Open the following year and two other major golf championships in 1951, but missed many other tournaments.

In November, in his first public commentary after the crash, Woods recalled Hogan’s return as a paradigm to follow.

“I think something realistic is to play a tour once – never full time – but choose and choose, like Mr. Hogan,” he said. “Pick a few events a year and you’ll play around with it.”

On Sunday the 10th you on Sunday Woods made another fierce swing of your driver. He was holding on to the club and leaning on it when his ball caught in the woods on the left.

Woods then used a club like a cane to support his right side as he descended a steep slope that resulted in an 80-foot drop from the tee to the far fairway. When he reached flat ground, Woods handed over his caddy driver Joe Lacau and went on.

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