Sun Apr 10 03:51pm EDT
On Saturday, as Tiger Woods was sloppily making a bogey on the 18th green to post a 2-over 74, everyone in the golf world quietly polished the headstone that was his 2011 Masters.
He was done to us all, it seemed, and the magic that we have waited to see from Woods seemed in hibernation yet again, as he couldn't recreate what he had on Friday as he put together a beautiful 66.
But sometimes a Sunday at Augusta National can bring the best out in the longest shots. As we've talked about all week, it was 25 years ago when Jack Nicklaus did the unlikely on Sunday, posting a 65 to win his sixth green jacket at the age of 46, and while Tiger isn't in his later years, he is currently doing his best Jack impression on this Sunday.
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A birdie on No. 2 and 3 had the murmers begin, but as typical for Tiger the last two years, he gave one back on the fourth, and it seemed like the run would end right there. But what we didn't know was that the run was just beginning. Tiger yelled "Be Perfect!" at his tee shot on the par-3 6th, and as it nestled next to the hole you knew he was getting one back. Then on the 7th, it was another beautiful second shot that set up another birdie and a fist pump.
But that still wasn't the fireworks we were waiting for. Sure, Tiger had played himself back into the conversation, but it was a three-wood on the par-5 8th that had the patrons at Augusta National thinking back to a yellow-shirted Nicklaus. His second shot was nearly perfect, and as Tiger's eagle putt dropped, the goosebumps began and the roars were activated.
They say the Masters doesn't start until the back nine on Sunday, but for Tiger, on this Sunday, it has already started, and started beautifully. If he can hold on, it'll be as wonderful a tribute to Nicklaus in '86 as anything. The guy trying to catch his record of 18 majors is trying to recreate what he did on that brilliant Sunday.
We will wait and see if it actually comes together.