Given his recent spat of injuries and struggles in multiple tournaments, it is easy to forget just how dominant Tiger Woods has been in the PGA Tour during his pro golf career. No tournament offers a more accurate barometer for Woods' brilliant career than the Masters. Augusta National Golf Club has become the site of some his greatest triumphs as a golfer.
Here are 10 memorable moments for Woods from the Masters:
1. An Amateur Unlike Any Other
Woods made a name for himself in his youth as one of the most dominant amateur golfers of the modern era. His record included three wins apiece at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and the U.S. Amateur Championship. As a 19-year-old, Woods entered the 1995 Masters Tournament and finished his debut at Augusta as the only amateur to make the cut. Woods tied for 41st, with a 5-over 293.
2. First Major Win
Woods already seemed destined to become the face of golf long before he turned pro in 1996. His first season netted him PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors. It was the 1997 Masters where Woods showed a sneak peek of the dominant form that would carry him to the top of the sport in the ensuing decade. Woods claimed his first major title by shooting an 18-under 270 and finishing 12 strokes ahead of his nearest challenger. It set a new scoring record at the Masters.
3. Birdie Bunch
Woods finished sixth at the 2000 Masters behind eventual winner Vijay Singh. He still made a statement, even without winning. During the third round, Woods shot four birdies in a row. It offered a snapshot of how consistently strong he can be at Augusta, even during years where he does not win the Masters.
4. The Tiger Slam
With a one-shot victory at the 2001 Masters, clinched with a final putt on the 18th hole, Woods earned distinction as the first golfer in the modern era to hold all four major titles at once. It was not a true grand slam, since all four victories did not occur in the same calendar year. The consecutive wins over two years were instead termed a "Tiger Slam."
5. Joining the Three-time Club
When he prevailed at the 2002 Masters, Woods became just the third golfer to win back-to-back titles at Augusta. Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Jack Nicklaus (1965-66) were the only others to accomplish the same feat.
6. Sudden Death = Number 1
Swing issues sent Woods into a slump that saw him win no majors in either 2003 or 2004 and caused him to lose the top spot in the World Golf rankings. Woods erased that slump in dramatic fashion when he shot a 12-under 276 and won the 2005 Masters Tournament in a playoff against Chris DiMarco. It gave him another valuable major win and helped Woods regain the No. 1 spot in the World Rankings.
7. Mortal After All
When Woods went into the final group on the last day of a major for the 13th time in his career at the 2007 Masters Championship, it looked like a victory was in the bag. He had won on all previous 12 occasions. This time, Woods did not seize victory. He ended up falling to eventual winner Zach Johnson by two strokes after not shooting better than par in any of the four rounds.
8. Bad Knee Blues
Playing on a bad knee, Woods still conjured up a second-place finish at the 2008 Masters. He finished three strokes behind Trevor Immelman. Woods was denied victory while struggling putting, and he underwent knee surgery on his left knee for the third time in mid-April. It caused him to miss two months on the PGA Tour.
9. Return to Golf
Woods returned to the 2010 Masters after taking a 20-week break from competitive golf while he dealt with the fallout from his marriage infidelity scandal. He opened with a 4-under-par round of 68, his best ever start at Augusta, and remained in contention for a title on the final day before finishing fourth.
10. Final Round Rally
Woods suffered two leg injuries in the third round of the 2011 Masters and shot a 74 over in that round. It looked like he might fade out of the top 10 going into the final round. Woods defied expectations and came back to shoot a final-round 5-under 67 and finished in a tie for fourth place. Making it more remarkable was the fact he was sidelined for a month following those injuries.
John Coon enjoys getting in a round from time to time in the Salt Lake City area when he is not covering golf as a freelance sports reporter.
- Tiger Woods
- Augusta National Golf Club