After appearing in the Masters barely 14 months after surviving a life-threatening automobile accident, the 15-time major winner dominated headlines all week at Augusta National.
There were concerns that Woods would struggle with the physical demands of the renowned course, but he more than held his own, making the cut and finally finishing the tournament on 13-over par.
The focus has already shifted to what comes next for Woods, who previously stated that he would not return to the PGA Tour full-time and that he was aiming for The Open in July while speaking in December. And now he has reiterated that stance, committing himself to the prestigious major.
How do you evaluate Woods’ Masters performance? The numbers that explain his result are insufficient to communicate the narrative.
47th solo. A career-highest 13 over par. Back-to-back 78s on the weekend. One number comes closer — his 22nd consecutive time that he made the cut at Augusta — but these numbers still fall short.
What did it mean to Woods, those around him, and those of us watching along? That is far more difficult to quantify.
At Augusta National, Woods continues to teach us. When he last competed in the Masters, he sabotaged his chances of a top finish by making a ten at the par-3 12th. round at Augusta.
Instead of tapping out he went back to work and churned out five birdies in his final six holes, his best-ever finish to a round at Augusta.
This year’s entire appearance was a lesson in perseverance. It was a lesson in, well, Woods can explain it better.
“I fight each and every day,” he said, explaining the example he’s hoping to set. “Each and every day is a challenge. Each and every day presents its own different challenges for all of us. I wake up and start the fight all over again.”
The Tiger effect on TRP
Tiger Woods may not have won the Masters golf tournament, but his spectacular comeback from injury was a big hit with the television networks that followed him.
CBS’ coverage of the storied tournament’s final round on Sunday averaged 10.17 million people, the most for any golf telecast since the same day in 2019 — the last time Woods won the coveted green jacket.
ESPN’s coverage of the first two rounds of the Masters averaged 3.3 million viewers, the most for the network’s Masters coverage since 2018.
On Saturday, ESPN’s viewership peaked at 4.6 million just as Woods finished his second round.
Speaking to Sky Sports following his round, he was quizzed on his participation at the upcoming US PGA Championship in May. But Woods responded: “I don’t know if I’ll play Southern Hills [venue of the PGA] or not but I am looking forward to St Andrews,” he said
“That’s something that is near and dear to my heart and I’ve won two Opens there. It is the home of golf and my favourite golf course in the world so I will be there for that one.”
Woods has a special relationship with the iconic St Andrews, winning two of his three Opens at the historic Scottish links. Tiger won at the course back in 2000 for the first time, and then five years later in 2005.