ROLEX Testimonee Tiger Woods first won the Masters Tournament in 1997, after just turning 21, and only a year after having turned pro. In fact, he had won three PGA Tour events before taking the Masters, earning for himself PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors in 1996. By June 1997, still a few months shy of celebrating his first full year as a pro, he was already ranked world’s number one.
The next several years saw Woods ruling professional golf. He was concurrent PGA and PGA Tour Player of the Year for 11 years, between 1997 and 2013. From his first Masters in 1997 he continued to rake in 13 other Majors — Masters, US Open, The Open Championship, PGA Championship — counting in the US Open he won in 2008. That tournament, however, seemed to be the last Major he would win. A succession of physical injuries, not to mention a much-publicized divorce, took a toll on his winning ways. Woods had a good run, an excellent one, in fact. But his time was up.
Last weekend he proved this wrong. After coming in oh-so-close to victory twice in 2018, Woods clinched his 15th Major as he topped the 83rd Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. The comebacking golf star notched up rounds of 70, 68, 67 and 70, putting him ahead of 87 of the world’s leading golfers. He also held off the challenge of fellow multiple Major-winner and Rolex Testimonee Brooks Koepka as he finished a stroke ahead with a score of13 under. With the victory, Woods chalked up his 81st PGA Tour win, just one short of Sam Snead’s all-time record.
“It’s overwhelming,” Woods said after the competition. “It’s one of the hardest I’ve ever had to win, just because of what has transpired over the last couple of years of trying to come back and play. I was close last year a couple of times with the chance in the last two Major championships.
“My mom was here, and she was there in 1997 as well, and so I just couldn’t be more happy and more excited,” he said.
Woods has now worn the Masters’ historic green jacket a total of five times; before this year he also put this on in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005. His latest triumph places him in a position to match, if not eventually surpass, two longstanding records held by one of the best golfers of all time — Jack Nicklaus. Also a Rolex Testimonee (and who famously admits to owning just one watch; a gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date “President”), Nicklaus has 18 Majors and six Masters victories to his name.
For Woods though, time is still on his side.