Two Shots for Tiger One for Us


For Tiger Woods, the 69th Masters Tournament was decided by two shots. For everyone else, it will be remembered for just one.
For me, its by far the drive and the iron, Woods said in his Masters teleconference last month when asked what stood out most about last years victory at Augusta National.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods reacts to winning his fourth Masters title and his first major in nearly three years.
Woods was referencing his tee shot and approach shot on the first hole of his sudden-death playoff with Chris DiMarco.
Coming off back-to-back bogeys to force the extra session, Woods piped a 3-wood down the center of the 18th fairway and then hit an 8-iron 15 feet over the flag. He then converted the birdie putt for his fourth green jacket.
To step up there and hit my two best golf shots all week, Woods said about his drive and approach, that gave me so much confidence going down the road into the other major championships and other tournaments, because I was able to pull out my best stuff when I absolutely needed to.
Tigers performance on the 73rd hole of the tournament was validation for all of his swing changes with instructor Hank Haney. It also trumped the bogeys on 17 and 18 in regulation ' and allowed his chip-in on 16 to take on near mythical proportions.
Though Tiger, who went on to also win the British Open in 2005, counts his two playoff shots as the most important of the tournament ' and the most important of his season, he readily admits that it is his chip-in on the 16th hole that is the signature shot of last years Masters.
And since he was able to overcome his subsequent stumble and win the event, it's not only one of the most memorable shots in all of major championship history; it's not tainted with failure.
Woods entered the 70th hole with a one-stroke lead over playing competitor DiMarco. The two were locked in a match-play situation, well clear of the rest of the field.
DiMarco hit first and put his 7-iron tee shot about 20 feet short of the hole. Woods then pulled his 8-iron long and left of the green.
His ball nestled some 40 feet from the flag, near the edge of the second cut of rough, but not right up against it.
I knew it was going to be virtually one of the most difficult shots you could possibly have on the whole golf course, Woods recounted.
From where he was, Woods was unable to take a direct route to the hole. Instead he had to play a shot well left and somehow hope that he could get his ball to finish inside of DiMarcos.
I thought I had an opportunity to put the ball inside of Chris, which was about 15 feet. And to be honest with you, thats all I was trying to do, he admitted.
Woods surveyed the situation intently. He paced around the green and picked out a spot of daylight at which to aim.
Said CBS analyst Lanny Wadkins, Theres a good chance he doesnt get this inside DiMarcos ball.
Standing over his ball, following three practice chips, his eyes darted back and forth, taking everything into account, becoming comfortable with it all.
He then pulled the trigger.
The ball skipped hard onto the green and around hole high it took a right-hand turn and tracked towards the hole like it had a homing device.
A shade over 14 seconds after the ball left Tigers wedge, it stopped. For two seconds, the ball lay almost motionless on the edge of the cup. And then it dropped.
The crowd exploded. Woods and caddie Steve Williams attempted two rather disjointed high-fives. Woods yelled, Come on! DiMarco said, Good shot.
In you life, said CBS commentator Vern Lundquist, have you seen anything like that.
The birdie gave Woods a two-stroke advantage over DiMarco, who narrowly missed his birdie effort on 16. A couple of missed fairways on 17 and 18 cost Woods a chance to win the event in regulation, but he recovered with two near perfect swings and one perfect putt in the playoff.
The final swings are the one most special to Woods, for they are the ones that ultimately won him the Masters, and the ones that gave him the confidence to finish 2-1-4 in his next three major championships.
But its his second shot on 16, his 61st shot of the final round ' thats the one that will live forever in the minds of everyone else.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 70th Masters Tournament
  • Full Coverage - 69th Masters Tournament