Donald Trump and Jack Nicklaus lead tributes to Tiger Woods as he clinches 15th major at Augusta

James Corrigan
The Telegraph
Tiger Woods won his first major in 11 years - REUTERS
Tiger Woods won his first major in 11 years - REUTERS

From President Trump to President Obama, from Jack Nicklaus to Phil Mickelson, from Serena Williams to Steph Curry, the Tiger Woods tributes flooded in Sunday night. If anyone ever wondered the stir it would create should the 43-year-old ever end his decade-plus wait for a 15th major then the few hours following his remarkable one-shot win here at the 83rd Masters answered all the questions and more.

From a golfing perspective, the words of Jack Nicklaus were most notable as Woods resumed his chase of the Golden Bear’s record haul of 18 majors. In his congratulations, the 79-year-old alluded to what it will mean for the sport. “A big 'well done' from me to Tiger Woods,” Nicklaus said. "I am so happy for him and, just as importantly, for the game of golf. This is just fantastic."

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Sir Nick Faldo concurred, hailing it as the game’s biggest ever moment, even bigger than Woods winning here as a 21-year-old or Nicklaus winning here in 1986 as a 46-year-old.. "That will be the greatest scene in golf forever,” Faldo said. “We will never see anything as exhilarating as that."

Even Phil Mickelson, Woods’s long-time rival, as caught up in the moment, despite struggling late on to finish in a tie for 18th. “This is special day that will go down in history,” the three-time champion said. “What a great moment for the game of golf. I'm so impressed by Tiger Woods' incredible performance, and I'm so happy for him to capture a fifth green jacket.”

And while bemoaning his own collapse, which ended in a tie for fifth, Molinari knew he had enjoyed a ringside seat to history. “It's great to see obviously Tiger doing well but the way he was playing last year I think we all knew it was coming sooner or later,” he said. “He played well, he hit the right shots at the right time and deserved to win. To see his story, his comeback, and to be a witness in first person, it's nice.”

Brooks Koepka might have won his third major out of the last four he played had he not double-bogeyed the 12th, but the runner-up was full of praise.  “The atmosphere around Tiger is mind blowing and to be inside the ropes and just kind of see it as another player is pretty cool and unique,” he said. “Look, we all knew this was going to come, I said it last year at the British Open [sic]. I thought he was ready, raring to go to win a major again and it only took him, what, two more tries.  It's impressive and as a fan of golf and of Tiger it's very, very special.” 

Both President Trump and his predecessor have enjoyed friendly games with Woods and were quick to emphasise their excitement. “Congratulations to Tiger Woods," tweeted Trump. ”A truly Great Champion! Love people who are great under pressure. What a fantastic life comeback for a really great guy!.”

Obama was just as effusive. "Congratulations, Tiger! To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit, and determination."

And so the best wishes went on with Serena Williams revealing she was “in tears” when watching her friend triumph and Curry, the basketball great, calling it “the greatest comeback ever in sports”. Yet perhaps, Woods, former coach, Butch Harmon, summed it up best of all. 

"I've never seen him show emotion like that. At any time, anywhere, any time in his life,” he said. “He was humbled by his own mistakes, the things he went through he created, nobody else created them, and he came out the other side. He got himself help, he got his body right, he got his head right and he went to work on his game. I couldn't be happier for him and his family."

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