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Tiger: Jack's win in '86 is my first Masters memory

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — Which Masters was better: Jack Nicklaus winning his sixth green jacket at age 46 in 1986, or Tiger Woods winning his fifth at age 43 in 2019?

It’ll be debated ad nauseam for the foreseeable future but, in the immediate aftermath of Woods’ victory Sunday at Augusta National, he wasn’t interested in putting too much thought into the discussion.

“I don’t know if it is or not, but I can tell you that ’86 meant a lot of me because that was the first memory that I have of the Masters, seeing Jack celebrate a 4-iron into the green on 15. When he did that, I had never seen anybody celebrate an iron shot into a green before,” Woods said. “That’s a moment that stuck with me.

“And he was 46 years old. I’m 43,” Woods said. “We had little spells in between. He had, what, six years or so I think where he didn’t win a major? And for me, it was 11 years.”

Even though it was 33 years ago, Woods recalls most of the important details with great clarity, including that Seve Ballesteros hit it in the water on the par-5 15th and that Greg Norman botched the 18th hole and made bogey.

Still, Woods was not interested in thinking about which feat is more impressive. All he knows is that his 15th major is as sweet as any of the previous 14. 

“It’s special to me,” he said. “It’s special to my friends and family, and I think that everyone who was here got a chance to witness something that was amazing. And just the competitive environment — everyone was playing well at the same time, and it could have gone many different ways. Just happened to hang in there and persevere.”