For the first time, The Advertiser sent its own writer and photographer to cover the Masters Tournament in Augusta. This article and photos are exclusive to this publication.
Tiger Woods clinched his fourth Masters victory on Sunday, winning his green jacket in sudden death play with the same 15-foot putt that Phil Mickelson sunk the year before.
Tiger was paired with the tenacious Chris DiMarco who played four inspired rounds. It was grueling, it was emotional, it was great theater…it was great golf. The match could have turned several times; ultimately, DiMarco lipped what would have been a game winning shot on 18. That seems to characterize his performance the entire day – he almost had it.
Tiger played with a sense of purpose and drive that we would later find out to be fueled by a desire to win one more for his ailing father.
Tiger had an amazing morning. He started off the day finishing round 3, making up for two days of rain delay, charging to finish the round with an impressive 65. He began the day trailing DiMarco by four strokes and caught him in 3 holes and 31 minutes. He was on a tear, 7 birdies in a row, at one point 16 birdies in a 30-hole stretch during the tournament – an admirable performance on most any course and an unbelievable performance at Augusta National.
In the final round, Tiger moved to as much as a four stroke lead with 14 holes left to play and then seemed to shift to a more conservative line of place that almost proved to be his undoing. He was no longer on the attack and DiMarco closed the gap to two strokes. Then came hole #16. In a single stroke, Tiger could have faltered and erased a comfortable two-stroke lead with two holes left to play. Instead, he sunk what will certainly be one of the most memorable shots of all time. An impossible shot. Tiger chipped it out of the rough, it plopped on the high side of the green and as Tiger begged int he background, it slowly made its way to the edge of the cup. It stopped for a moment and then, as if elderly Earl Woods gave a gentle nudge, it fell into the hole. The crowd roared; the ground shook. It was a shot that our generation will remember for a lifetime, much the same way Nicklaus’ 24-yard putt decades earlier impacted a previous generation.