We are just weeks away from the 2020 US Masters, so now is a good time to reflect on last year’s incredible tournament, which saw Tiger Woods claim his 15th major championship, 11 years after his previous success.
To many, it had looked like Woods’ days of winning one of golf’s big four events were over. His domination of the sport felt like a distant memory, however, Augusta brought out the best of the former world number one once again.
There has been a number of extraordinary comebacks in golf during a tournament. Players who have been on the verge of missing the cut have gone on to the lift the trophy. In terms of coming back from a position where their career looked to be all but over, though, Tiger’s achievement tops them all.
A final round of 70 was enough for Woods to hold off the threat from Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele and others on the back nine at Augusta. The victory was Woods’ fifth success in the Masters. And now he is 14/1 in the betting on The Masters golf competition to match Jack Nicklaus’ record of six wins this year.
Julius Boros is the oldest winner of a major championship in the modern era, as he was 48 years old when he claimed the PGA Championship in 1968. That was the third of his three majors and came five years after his second, the 1963 US Open.
Although that was an incredible feat, the sport has changed very much since then. The standard on the PGA Tour is so strong now that rookies are having immediate success, as Matthew Wolff proved, winning the 3M Open in Minnesota on just his fourth start as a professional.
Darren Clarke’s win in the 2011 Open Championship is another fine example of a player producing an unlikely success. The Northern Irishman was playing in the tournament for the 20th time that year, and after so many near misses earlier in his career, many felt his chances of lifting the Claret Jug were gone.
Clarke found his best game once again and handled conditions better than anybody else in the field at Royal St George’s Golf Club, prevailing by three shots. Given what he had been through in his personal life a few years earlier, the man from Portrush was a popular winner.
Woods’ victory last year revives the possibility of him catching Nicklaus at the top of the standings when it comes to major championship wins. He is now three behind the Golden Bear who ended his career with 18 wins.
Next year, Woods will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. He has no intention of retiring any time soon, though, as he remains more than competitive on the PGA Tour at the age of 44.
A lot is going to depend on how many years Woods remains in the sport. If he can stay fit and healthy, he could continue at the top level into his late 40s, which will give him a good chance of catching Nicklaus.
Although last year’s victory will never be forgotten, there could be at least one more chapter left in Woods’ incredible career in the sport.
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