A Look Back at Tigers Historic Masters Win

By Associated PressMarch 31, 2007, 4:00 pm
Ten years ago, before he was a global icon, Tiger Woods still was somewhat of a mystery at the Masters.
It was his first major as a professional. He had played six majors as an amateur, never finishing in the top 20, only five rounds under par. And while he already had won three of his 14 starts on the PGA TOUR since turning pro, most of the hype had been driven by Jack Nicklaus' audacious prediction that Woods might win as many green jackets -- 10 -- as Nicklaus and Palmer combined.
'All the fuss had been there. Everyone said this guy was so good,' Thomas Bjorn said. 'But players out here, we've all heard it: 'Here comes a new great one.' After Augusta, everyone realized there's something special here. This was a different class.'
Woods set 20 records that week, from youngest Masters champion (21) to 72-hole score (270) to largest victory margin (12 strokes). His victory was a watershed moment in golf.
Here is a reconstruction of that week in the words of 11 people who had contact with him that week, including an interview with Woods. The others were playing partners Nick Faldo, Paul Azinger and Colin Montgomerie; caddie Mike Cowan; swing coach Butch Harmon; golf anchor Jim Nantz, executive producer Lance Barrow and analyst David Feherty of CBS Sports; Isleworth neighbor Mark O'Meara, and PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem:
The week before:
After winning the season opener at La Costa in a playoff, Woods' spring had been relatively ordinary. In his last event before the Masters, he tied for 31st in his debut at The Players Championship, finishing 17 shots out of the lead.
He spent the week before the Masters practicing and playing at Isleworth.
O'Meara: 'I had a friend of mine who owns a Japanese restaurant that I invited to play. Tiger comes onto the range and said, 'You want to play golf?' My friend was pretty jacked up to come play with me at Isleworth. The next thing you know Tiger is with us. It was the easiest 59 you could ever see anyone shoot. He should have shot 56. There were two par 5s on the front. He had a 3-iron into one and a 5-iron into another and made par on both of them. And he still shot 59.'
Wednesday, April 8:
Whatever good vibes Woods had about his game were gone by the time he got to Augusta National for his practice rounds. What concerned him most was his putting.
Woods: 'I was still hitting it good, but I couldn't shake it in. I felt uneasy with my stroke. For some reason, it just left me on the flight from Orlando to Augusta. I worked on it for hours and couldn't find it. My speed was good, but I could never start the ball on line, not consistently. Finally, I had enough and I went to my dad. I said, 'Dad, I can't figure this out.' He had a look at it, told me a couple of things I needed to do, and all of a sudden, I started feeling a little more comfortable.'
Harmon: 'He just felt so good. He was anxious for Thursday to get here. It was like, 'Put me in coach.' He was almost too anxious. And I think that's why he jumped out to a 40. Maybe that 40 was the best thing that happened to him. It was a slap in the face.'
Woods: 'Without a doubt, I was too revved up. Because I was playing really well, probably the best stretch I've ever had in my life. I shot 59. I was ready. But you don't want to be ready a week before. You want to be ready on Thursday.
Thursday, April 9:
The tradition at Augusta National is to pair the defending champion with the U.S. Amateur champion. Even though Woods turned pro after winning the Amateur, he still played the opening round with Faldo.
Woods: 'Faldo was by far the quietest (partner). I said I had a Titleist 1 on the first tee and, 'Good luck today.' And I shook his hand and gave him his scorecard. There were no words exchanged. I said, 'Nice shot, nice putt.' But I got nothing back. That's how he played. That's the way he was.'
Faldo: 'I remember we both went out in 40. He was in the trees to the left, I was in the trees to the right. The rest is a blur.'
Harmon: 'Everyone said, 'This is much ado about nothing.' I didn't see anything on the front nine that I thought was bad. It was one of those nine holes where nothing happened, and every time something could go wrong, it went wrong. But he turned it around immediately.'
Woods: 'All of a sudden on 9 I hit a good putt for bogey from 3 feet and it felt really good. Then I hit a good 2-iron (on No. 10) like I had been hitting at home. I said, 'Let's keep the feeling of the swing, keep the feeling of the putt, and see if I can marry that up for nine holes, and see if I can get back to even par for the day.''
Faldo: 'He had played the Masters before, but this was his first as a professional. We all thought -- I thought, too -- that you needed experience. What was impressive was the back nine. He whittled away and gets back in 30. He chipped in for birdie on No. 12, and who knows? That might have changed everything for him. But that's what Tiger is so good at. He deals with one shot at a time. He was good then, and he's the best at it now. He just hits the reset button, so 100 percent of him is on the next shot.'
Woods: 'Even though I hit the ball well on the back nine, if I don't chip in on 12, if I don't make the putt on 9, it doesn't happen. I don't get the confidence going forward.'
Friday, April 11:
Woods is paired in the second round with Azinger, who opened with a 69. Azinger never had seen Woods play and rarely watches anyone in his group. He couldn't resist on the par-5 second hole.
Azinger: 'I turned to my caddie, Mark Jimenez, and I said, 'I heard this guy hits it a mile. Let's see if he hits it over the bunker.' You know how high the pine trees are on the left? His ball is 7 to 8 feet right of the trees, just underneath the tree line. As soon as he hit it, I looked at my caddie and said, the easiest 66 I'd ever seen.'
Woods wound up with a three-shot lead over Montgomerie, who had twice lost in a playoff at majors. Montgomerie appreciated how far Woods hit the ball, but he said after the round that the pressure was mounting.
'I've got experience, a lot more experience in major golf than he has,' Montgomerie said that day. 'And hopefully, I can prove that.'
Woods was back at his house when he saw the comments on television.
Woods: 'I totally understand his point, which is totally valid. But I kept saying to myself, 'He hasn't won one, either.' How can you make this statement when he hasn't won one. He'd won the Order of Merit. But he'd never won a major. So the ultimate experience, neither one of us had. I think it was a blank slate. It's a push. Now, who's playing better?'
Saturday, April 12:
Woods was playing better. He shot 65, finishing his round with an approach that spun off the fringe to 4 feet for birdie and a nine-shot lead, a record at the Masters. Montgomerie shot 74, and surprisingly made a visit to the press center, where he delivered a memorable line. A year after Greg Norman blew a six-shot lead, Montgomerie said there was no way humanly possible Woods could lose the Masters.
'Faldo's not lying second,' he said, 'and Greg Norman is not Tiger Woods.'
Barrow: 'It was my first year producing the Masters. I remember (Masters chairman) Jack Stephens and Nick Faldo coming down to our compound -- Jack Stephens rarely did that. I said, 'Do you want to look at our tease?' We had a gorgeous opening of the show. We were very proud of it. Jack said, 'That's really great. When are we going to show live golf?' I said, 'As soon as we come on the air, Mr. Stephens.''
Montgomerie: 'He never missed a putt from 8 feet when I played with him. You have this sort of length at the Masters, and you've got them all day. You've got them for par, you've got them for good shots in for birdie. He never missed. Yes, he hit it miles, and straight. But there's a lot more to Tiger Woods than that. We all know that. A lot more to him. And I found out that day.'
Harmon: 'Tiger went out on the range for 30 minutes, more to relax and let the nervous system unwind. Saturday night at the house, he did all the same things. He takes his yardage book home, meditates, visualizes how to play every hole.'
Woods: 'Saturday night with Dad, he and I were just sitting there, past midnight, and we were just rapping. 'He said, 'You know, it's going to be the most important round of your life, but you can handle it. Just go out there and do what you do. Just get in your own little world and go out there and just thrash 'em.''
Sunday, April 13, 1997:
Faldo, who had missed the cut, was sitting on the bench outside the clubhouse Sunday morning, waiting for the tournament to end so he could present the green jacket to the winner. Camera crews were milling about in the parking lot.
Feherty: It was my first Masters, and I was still wondering what the hell I was doing there. That was when we started to attack players before the round on their way into the clubhouse. My whole career hinged on getting Tiger Woods to say a few words into the camera. He stepped out of the car and ... and I had never seen that look in my life. He looked radioactive. It was like he had a force field around him, like I could hit him in the head with a baseball bat and it wouldn't reach his head. I thought, 'Who needs this career?' Because there was no way I was going to go near him.'
Barrow: 'I remember coming on the air Sunday and picking up Costantino Rocca and Tiger hitting their second shots on No. 5. Other than a rain delay, that was the furthest we'd ever gone back to show live golf at Augusta. I told our guys that morning, we're going to walk every step with Tiger.'
Woods: 'I kept telling myself all day, 'If I birdie the par 5s and make no bogeys, nobody can catch me. I've got too big of a lead, so don't do anything stupid.' What do I do? I made bogey on 5 with a 9-iron in my hand. I said that's enough of this. I got it back with the birdie on 8. That was huge, because it got the momentum back on my side.'
Cowan: 'Two shots really stood out that week. One was a chip on the 13th hole Saturday from behind the green with the pin on the top shelf. And the other was 8 on Sunday. He's behind the mounds on the left, the pin is short right. He would have done well to get that about 10 or 12 feet from the hole. He hits it in there about 4 feet and makes birdie.'
Woods came to the 72nd hole with a 12-shot lead, needing a par to set the Masters scoring record. A camera went off on his back swing and he pulled the ball well to the left. He still only had 9-iron to the green, which he hit about 40 feet from the hole.
Woods: 'I hadn't three-putted all week, and I left myself with the hardest two-putt on the green. To play 71 holes at Augusta with the lead and without a three-putt in your first major as a pro? I kept saying, 'Why couldn't you hit it to the right?' The entire time, I was chewing myself out, meanwhile trying to smile, trying to enjoy the moment. But also chewing myself out. 'Stay focused, get the speed right ... I can't believe you did this ... Get the speed right ... Why couldn't you hit it to the right?''
He rolled it 4 feet away, holed the par putt and punched the air with a now famous uppercut. Then he walked off the green and into the arms of his father, Earl Woods, both breaking down in tears.
Woods: 'When I hugged him on 18, looking back at it now, I could not have won the tournament without him.'
Nantz: 'We knew this guy was special, but this was ridiculously great, a whole new level of greatness. There wasn't any doubt who was going to win. But there was drama to it, even though he knocked the life out of the competition.'
Finchem: 'I was there waiting for the finish. It was a foregone conclusion. He set the stage for the future. From then on it was only a question of details. How many does he win? Does he challenge the big, long-term records? What was in my head was if he stays like this, and plays like this, and stays healthy and challenges the big records -- which takes decades -- that's going to be an awesome impact on the game. So I was pretty excited.'
Faldo: 'At the time, I thought this was the only major he could win. For one, the golf course suited him. But also because the Masters was the only major that the media was kept outside the ropes. And I thought that was going to be his biggest challenge. But as he showed, he can deal with it. Now it's his greatest asset. Everyone joining him now on the weekend at a major goes into his world. That's Tiger's arena. Other guys will step into that arena one week and go back out. He's there all the time. And good luck coming into his world.'
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    Koepka: Second-place finishes becoming 'annoying'

    By Al TaysMay 28, 2018, 12:02 am

    Brooks Koepka didn't go down without a fight.

    Trailing Justin Rose by four shots going into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational, Koepka shot his second 7-under 63 of the week - and made up precisely one shot. He finished solo second at 17 under par, three shots behind Rose.

    He could only marvel at the Englishman's performance in closing with a 6-under 64.

    "It was pretty impressive," he said. "Justin played well. Hat's off to him. Any time you can come into a lead with four shots and play the way he did today, that's impressive."

    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

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    Although Koepka was pleased with his own play - especially his putting - he said it felt "annoying" to come in second. Again.

    "I feel like we've had so many second-place finishes," he said. "Always seem to run into a buzz saw, whatever it is."

    Since May of 2016, Koepka has five solo second-place finishes and one T-2. But he also has a U.S. Open title, won last year at Erin Hills. He'll attempt to defend that title June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills. "It's nice to finally be playing well and get going into the season," he said. "Kind of peaking right where I need to be."

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    Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

    By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee's task was simple: A birdie on No. 18 would win her the tournament. It was a manageable par 5, the easiest hole on the course in the final round.

    After a good drive, her second shot came closer to trouble than much of the gallery probably realized.

    ''I almost clipped the tree,'' Lee said. ''I overcut it a little bit, but it finished out in a good position.''

    Lee's shot came to rest just to the right of the green, and from there it was a simple chip and putt for the birdie that gave her a one-stroke win over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship on Sunday. Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, won for the first time since 2016. It was the Australian's fourth career victory.

    Lee three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round about the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18. The 18th hole was 470 yards Sunday. There were 44 birdies there in the final round.

    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

    ''The tee was up,'' she said. ''I was pretty confident that I could get there in two if I had a good drive.''

    Lee made her winning putt from about 3 feet. She finished at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

    ''I kind of knew that 16 was the number and I mean, I give my best,'' Kim said. ''I make some good shots and birdies.''

    Moriya Jutanugarn (65) finished third at 14 under.

    Lee took a two-stroke lead into the final round, and that was her margin over playing partner Stacy Lewis before Lewis (71) bogeyed No. 7 and 8. Kim emerged as the biggest threat to Lee when she birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine. Lewis is playing four months' pregnant with her first child.

    Kim and Lee were briefly tied at 15 under, but then Lee made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 14th, while Kim bogeyed 15. Lee saved par on 15 despite a wayward drive into a bunker.

    ''I wasn't sure where I was score-wise then. That par 5 is reachable in two, so I think a lot of people would have made birdie there,'' Lee said. ''The next tee shot I just pulled into the bunker. ... I think that was really important for me to hole that par putt just to keep the momentum going.''

    Lee had gone 38 consecutive holes without a bogey before making one on the par-4 17th. That, combined with Kim's birdie on 18, left the two golfers tied, but Lee still had the 18th to come.

    Su Oh (68) and Lindy Duncan (69) finished at 13 under, and Megan Khang (67) was another stroke back. Lewis finished at 11 under along with Ariya Jutanugarn (69) and Danielle Kang (70).

    Lewis birdied three of the first six holes, but Lee did as well.

    ''It's hard to get close when somebody does that,'' Lewis said. ''She played great all day and played solid. When she needed to make a par putt, she did, and didn't make any mistakes.''

    Lee lost this event by one stroke last year. Shanshan Feng, the 2017 winner , finished tied for 21st this time.

    The LPGA has had a different winner in each of its 13 tournaments this year. The U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday at Shoal Creek.

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    Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

    By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

    Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

    "It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

    "So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."

    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

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    Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

    "I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

    "So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

    "So I know it's right around the corner."

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    Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

    By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

    BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst wishes he had played this well in his 23 years on the European Tour.

    ''I know a lot more about my swing now and I guess you get that with age and experience,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said after shooting an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

    Broadhurst finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

    Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round co-leaders Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

    Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).

    Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

    Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory and moved to the top of the money list. He won six times on the European Tour, was a 1991 Ryder Cup player for Europe and has three European Senior Tour victories.

    ''It was really a special week,'' he said. ''It got a little bit tense out there. I knew I was playing well but I didn't seem to making any progress against Tim Petrovic. He was side-by-side on the back nine it seemed.''

    He learned his lead was three strokes standing on the 18th tee when his caddie asked a television announcer.

    ''So we put my driver away and reached for the rescue club,'' he said. ''If I made a 5 there that would be fine.''

    Broadhurst started the round two strokes behind Petrovic and McCarron, birdied the first hole and was tied with Petrovic for the lead by the turn. He took his first lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, led by two after 16 and birdied the final two holes, including a dramatic 40-foot putt for birdie at the 18th hole.

    ''I guess it would have been a bit of anti-climax if I would have three-putted the last green, but that would have given Tim a chance of holing his second shot,'' he said. ''I actually spoke to my caddie about that going down the last - we don't want to three-putt and five him the opportunity because stranger things have happened in golf. To see it go in the middle of the hole was just a special feeling.''

    Petrovic said missed birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 8 were costly, but it might not have mattered with the way Broadhurst was playing.

    ''In hindsight it was all for naught,'' he said. ''He was so far ahead of us. Hat's off the guy. It was a great week - we just got beat. When he made the putt on 18 ahead of us I almost started clapping in the fairway and waving a white towel. It was well-deserved. That was great playing. He won the championship for sure.''

    Broadhurst shot 72 in the first round, started rolling in putts with a 66 in the second round and was 15 under on the weekend. In addition to the leading 26 birdies, he topped the putts per greens in regulations numbers for the tournament as well with a 1.574 average.

    ''I wasn't aware I made that many birdies,'' he said. ''That's pretty impressive around this course.''

    He said his game has long been unpredictable.

    ''I'm not blessed with a consistent swing like Bernhard Langer, but when it's on, it works,'' he said. ''If I'm putting well, then anything can happen, really.''