Best of 2019: Tiger Woods gives his son Charlie an unforgettable Masters embrace
A whole new rules rollout, Tiger Woods’ 15th major title, two epic international events and so much more. Here’s a look back at some of the best moments of 2019.
Best of 2019: Tiger Woods’ unforgettable Masters hug
I have heard some cheers on a golf course. Phil Mickelson’s walk-off birdie to win the 2004 Masters. Justin Leonard’s Hail Mary to steal the ’99 Ryder Cup. A heartbroken Darren Clarke being carried home by the fans at the K Club. But for sheer, sustained, delirious bedlam, nothing compares to the outpouring of joy and disbelief that enveloped Tiger Woods on the final green at this year’s Masters. I was standing right behind the green and could feel the noise in my chest. The fans were screaming, hugging, whooping and more than a few wiping away tears. Grizzled green jackets shook their heads at each other with disbelief. It was an epic moment a quarter-century in the making.
Tiger has lived a life unlike any other, and we have been along for the highest of highs, the lowest of lows and a million little moments in between. Body broken, nerves frayed, Woods’s incomparable career ended in 2017. Or so we thought. Slowly, improbably, he rebuilt his game, to say nothing of his life. To see Tiger healthy and happy and making athletic swings…that was enough. He deserved to go out with dignity. It was foolish – and greedy – to ask for more. Yet a performer who has already given us so much somehow topped it all. The Masters win offered more than joy. It was catharsis.
The final round was in many ways the perfect summation of Tiger’s career. While he has at time dazzled us with seemingly impossible shots, at heart he is a grinder and a tactician. On Sunday at Augusta he didn’t play spectacular golf but Woods did every little thing that was required of him to secure the victory. By the middle of the back nine it felt both inevitable and impossible. Tiger’s lusty celebration on the final green told us how deeply he felt this victory, but the most indelible moment was still to come.
Golf is so often a story of fathers and sons. Most boys come to the game through their dad. That bond was never more on display than behind Augusta National’s 18th green in 1997, when Tiger embraced his father Earl in a manly hug, the culmination of a shared dream. Now, 22 years later, the onetime boy wonder — and now balding single dad —offered perfect symmetry by wrapping his son Charlie in a joyous squeeze.
More than any shot or putt, this is what lingers from maybe the most memorable Masters ever. Tiger had come full circle. The noise that surrounded that hug was the release of many different emotions. We had been there for every step of Tiger’s journey. Love him or loathe him, it was impossible not to feel something.