Green jacket aside, Woods looked like a winner making his way to 18th at Augusta National – OutKick

When Tiger Woods walked to the 18th green at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, he was greeted with a thunderous ovation from the patrons in attendance.

Except this time they weren’t celebrating the anticipation of a putt to win the Masters for the sixth time. This time they were giving Woods a standing ovation by simply completing four rounds of golf – four rounds of fighting in unimaginable pain. For one last time this weekend, again on the hills of Holly.

With his right leg held down by pins, rods and screws, Woods had managed to navigate the toughest golf course to walk. And we were there to marvel at what we had just witnessed. To hell with Woods’ expectations, that was exactly what everyone wanted to see this weekend.

In those moments, it didn’t matter that Woods had +13 and finished his career-worst round at the Masters. All that mattered was that the trip was over. 14 months of preparation.

“It was an amazing feeling just to have the customer support there,” Woods said, via SCS. “I wasn’t exactly playing my best, but just to have the support there… I don’t think words can really describe it, given where I was just over a year ago and what were my prospects at that time. ”

Just as it was an incredible feeling for the 46-year-old, just over a year away from the fight of his life, completing his return to the PGA Tour, so too was it for the thousands of spectators at Augusta National. and the millions at home – including yours truly.

Over the past four days, Woods has shown us all what it means to never give up. To never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Despite the fact that Woods had won Majors while playing through injury in the past and overcame personal demons to win at Augusta National in 2019, most were certain there was no coming back from his almost car accident. mortal. That we had seen the last of golf’s greatest icons.

But he proved them all wrong by just showing up. And exceeded their expectations by making the cut and completing all four rounds. This is who Woods is: the toughest athlete I’ve ever seen.

And yet he would admit that this weekend, while an accomplishment, was also a disappointment. But only because when Woods enters the course, he expects to win. He confirmed as much on Tuesday that he felt he had a chance to do so.

The conditions at Augusta National, however, combined with the inevitable fatigue of the last two laps, did not allow this to become a reality. While Woods was electric with his drive, hitting the fairways off the tee at a 68% clip, the same couldn’t be said for his work with the putter.

Unable to crouch all the way to properly read his putts, Woods saw the majority of his birdie and par chances go through the cut. Ultimately, his 25-foot birdie on Thursday No. 16 would be his only putt to likely appear on the next Woods highlight tape you turn on. And it was lovely.

Make no mistake, this journey is over, but it’s more of a page turn than a book closing. Although Woods won’t guarantee we’ll see him at the PGA Championship May 19-22 in Southern Hills, the same place he won in 2007, he said he would do everything he could to prepare for it. , as he did. the Masters.

For those wondering when they will definitely see Woods again, mark your calendars. Woods said he will compete in the 2022 Open Championship July 14-17 at the historic Old Course in St. Andrews.

“We are excited about the prospects for the future,” Woods said. “About working out, getting into that gym and doing other things to strengthen my leg, which we couldn’t do because it took longer to heal…I think it takes a few more days to heal after that, but we’ll come back after that, and we’ll get to it.

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Follow Nick Geddes on Twitter @NickGeddesNews and on Instagram @nick.geddes.

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