Golf legend Tiger Woods shot a round 78 over par on Sunday at the Masters to finish deep in the standings and cap a weekend where numbers mattered little to fans.
He finished at 13 for the week, his 301 total by far his worst at the Masters and one hit on his worst 72-hole tally as a professional.
Scottie Scheffler, 25, won the day and the legendary green jacket, with a 71, despite challenges that included a furious comeback from Rory McIlroy, who finished with a 64.
Woods’ 47th-place finish belied the thunderous applause he received as he rolled up the 18th fairway at Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia. Woods, in a red shirt synonymous with his final-round charges, took off his cap and acknowledged the roars.
“Grateful, like I alluded to. I keep saying it, but I am. I really am. I really am. Just to make it happen,” Woods told reporters afterward. .
“Just to be able to play, and not just to play, but I had a good first round. I got into it. I don’t have quite the stamina that I wish I had, but for a few a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know if I was going to play in this event.”
It was Woods’ comeback tournament, just over a year after the car accident that nearly cost him his right leg, or worse. He said that coming into the Masters, just coming back was an accomplishment.
Woods limped through his final round, and the limp looked much worse on Sunday than it had earlier in the tournament.
Just making the cut and spending four days on America’s most famous course was its own victory for Woods.
When asked if this weekend’s game marked one of his greatest accomplishments, Woods replied, “For not winning an event, yes. Yes, without a doubt.
“To go from where I was to get to this point, I had an incredible team that helped me get to this point,” he added.
Woods’ mere presence at Augusta was a boost for the sport, which was looking for its next eye-catching crossover to fill the star void – left by Woods himself.
He last played a competitive individual round of golf at the 2020 Masters, held in November of that year instead of his normal spring start due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Asked about his favorite memory from the weekend, two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson said: “Memory, my goodness. Truth be told, it’s Tiger’s inspiration.
“Tiger – forget the score. I don’t care. He might not tell the media, but forget the score, right? That’s pretty inspiring,” Watson added after finishing at tied for 38th.
“Tenth anniversary of my victory, but watching him walk, gosh, I’m crying over a paper cut. For him to be able to walk and make the cut is pretty spectacular.”
Woods, 46, swung a club in December at the PNC Championship, a 36-hole father-son competition in Florida where he and Charlie Woods, 13, finished second to the team of John Daly and John Daly II.
Playing Woods in a major event like the Masters seemed impossible last year after a Feb. 23 wipeout on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County.
He drove a Genesis GV80 near Hawthorne Boulevard in Blackhorse Road, on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, officials said.
No one was injured other than Woods, who suffered significant injuries to both legs.
There were no signs of impairment, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies said at the scene, although a blood test was never taken.
He was traveling over 80 mph, nearly double the posted speed limit of 45 mph, officials said. Woods was still traveling at 75mph when he hit the tree as the SUV flew away.
Although the front of the SUV was almost completely shattered, much of the driver’s compartment remained intact and Woods was wearing a seat belt.
An MP said at the time he was ‘very lucky that Mr Woods was able to make it out alive’.
The crash was deemed to have been caused by “driving at a speed unsafe for road conditions and failure to negotiate the curve of the roadway”, and no charges were filed.
Woods acknowledged that he would never play full-time on the PGA Tour again.
He has 82 tournament titles, tied for most in PGA Tour history with Sam Snead. For much of his career, it was considered a slam dunk that Woods would one day surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major titles.
But in recent years, age, injuries and off-course issues have slowed Woods, whose name is usually mentioned at the top of every sentence – along with Nicklaus and Ben Hogan – debating who the sport’s greatest player is.
His storied career has drawn comparisons to Jackie Robinson, who broke major league baseball’s color barrier and fueled hopes that golf could attract a more diverse pool of players.