Tiger Woods was close to tears as he recounted his “full circle” Masters victory in 2019, his first at Augusta having to come from behind and the first with his kids there to see it.
The five-time champion is making his 23rd Masters appearance this week, 25 years after his first, and as defending champion more than 18 months after he secured that victory.
He said it was emotional in a “different way”, coming 22 years after his maiden Masters triumph in 1997, labelling the two wins “good bookends”.
“I‘m still getting chills just thinking about it feelings, coming up 18, and knowing that all I have to do is just two putt that little 15 footer,” Woods said at Augusta on Tuesday.
“And to see my family there and my mom and my kids and all of the people that helped support me or were there for me in the tough times, and I was walking up there trying not to lose it and still saying, ‘Hey, I’ve still got to two-putt this’.
“Then I walked off the back of the green, to see (son) Charlie there, just opened up our arms, it meant a lot to me and still does.
“It just reminded me so much of me and my dad, and to come full circle like that, it stills gives me you know, a little teary.”
But for all the emotional responses returning to Augusta produces, Woods remains a competitor.
The 44-year-old conceded he hadn’t “put all the pieces together” in his six tournaments since the PGA Tour emerged from its COVID-19 forced break.
Tiger Woods chokes up recounting his 2019 Masters Sunday. #themasters pic.twitter.com/s9xNPh1Upi
But Woods, who has finished in the top five in 12 of his 23 Masters, including his five wins, said contending remained his priority now and into the future, particularly at Augusta where age is no barrier to winning.
“Do I expect to contend? Yes, I do. I mean, you look at Freddie (Couples) and Bernhard (Langer), they are in their 60s and they seem to contend,” Woods said.
“Jack (Nicklaus contended here when he was, what, 58 or whatever it was.
“It can be done. This is a golf course in which having an understanding how to play and where to miss it and how to hit the shots around here, it helps.
“The golf course keeps getting longer. It gets a little bit more difficult as I‘ve gotten older and I don’t quite hit it as far.
“When I first came here, it was a lot of drivers and a lot of wedges. Now it‘s a little bit different and a little bit longer clubs into the holes, but still understanding how to play it definitely helps.
“That’s one of the reasons why you see past champions, like I mentioned Freddie and Bernhard, to be able to contend so late in their careers, and hopefully I’ll be one of those guys.”
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