Tiger Woods wins Masters for 5th time at 43

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Tiger Woods wins Masters for 5th time at 43

Post by jserraglio » Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:45 pm


Tiger Woods has done it again. After an 11-year drought, golf's most polarizing and popular figure has won another major, outlasting a star-studded leaderboard on Sunday by posting a final round 70 to win the 2019 Masters. It's his first major win since the 2008 U.S. Open and 15th of his career.
Woods began the day T2 but two strokes off the leader, Francesco Molinari, who had been steady all week. Molinari led throughout much of the day, in fact, until a double-bogey on No. 15 opened a brief window for Tiger to pounce -- and pounce he did. Woods birdied the par-5 15th for the third time this week, then birdied the par-3 16th, coming within inches of an ace that would have all but ended the day. He walked up to No. 17 with a two-stroke lead on Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, and finished with a par followed by a bogey putt on No. 18 to clinch the victory.
Woods becomes a five-time Masters winner on Sunday, which stands alone as the second-most in the sport's history; only Jack Nicklaus, who won six, has more. It's his first win at Augusta since 2005, when he capped an incredible decade of dominance at the event in which he also won in 1997, 2000 and 2001.

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Re: Tiger Woods wins Masters for 5th time at 43

Post by jserraglio » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:45 pm

WSJ — AUGUSTA, Ga.—The question hung over him for a decade: What happened to Tiger Woods?
Through the sex scandal that ended his marriage, the struggles that dropped his world ranking below No. 1,000, the DUI arrest that produced a haunting mug shot and the back pain that reduced him to a bedridden recluse, the answer was never simple. But the question is now officially, finally moot.
This happened to Tiger Woods: He came back. He won the Masters.
Three thousand, nine hundred fifty-five days after he last won a major championship, Woods rallied from behind to win his fifth career green jacket on Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club. It marked his 15th major victory and first since the 2008 U.S. Open. And it capped one of the greatest career revivals in the history of sports.
His game seemingly left for broken, his back possibly injured beyond repair, Woods just two years ago seriously doubted whether he would ever play competitively again. At age 43, in a game dominated by younger players, he has returned to the pinnacle of golf.
On the 18th green, Woods sank a 2-foot bogey putt to finish the tournament at 13 under par, one stroke ahead of Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele.
Clad in his traditional Sunday red shirt and black hat and pants, he hoisted his arms in celebration before a delirious crowd. Just off the green, he hugged his mother, Kultida, his girlfriend, Erica Herman, and his two children.
Francesco Molinari of Italy led through 11 holes but saw his chances sink with two balls he hit into the water on the back nine. The first, on the 12th hole, scrambled the leaderboard. The second, on the 15th hole, made him a sudden long shot to win.
Woods took his first outright lead of the day when he birdied the par-5 15th hole. On the 16th tee, he striped an iron shot. “Come on baby,” he said as the ball rolled across the green. “Come on!” The ball stopped 4 feet from the cup, setting up an easy birdie putt that gave him a two-stroke lead. The roar from the crowd was so deafening that it caused Koepka to back off his tee shot on the next hole over. Woods went on to make par on No. 17.
With tee times pushed up several hours by afternoon storms, it was a Sunday at the Masters unlike any other. There was no time for the usual steady build-up in anticipation. With the leaders teeing off at 9:20 a.m., it was a day of early wake-up calls.
As the leaders prepared to tee off at the first hole, players far out of contention were teeing off on No. 10, a rarity. The tables on the lawn behind the clubhouse, normally abuzz with members and their guests, were empty. Nearby, a wall of people formed awaiting the emergence of the final group.
Instead, 4-over-par Zach Johnson emerged ahead of his tee time on the 10th hole. “Thanks for waiting, guys,” he cracked to the crowd, as if it was there for him. He knew what the abundance of red shirts in the gallery made overwhelmingly clear: The masses were here for Woods.
Among the spectators following him were about a dozen people that included members of his family and employees of his charitable foundation. All were clad in red and black, including Woods’s two children. Standing beside his 11-year-old daughter, Sam, his 10-year-old son, Charlie, peered through binoculars at Woods from a hill overlooking the sixth green.
As Woods made a charge with birdies on the seventh and eighth holes, Molinari held steady, maintaining a one-shot lead through nine. His bogey on No. 7 ended a streak of 49 consecutive holes without one. But he could not go the whole day without posting a big number.
Still in the lead as he teed off on No. 12, Molinari watched his ball land short of the green and trickle into Rae’s Creek. He went on to make double bogey.
Right about then, rain began to fall—and the Masters began to get wild.
Write to Brian Costa at brian.costa@wsj.com

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Re: Tiger Woods wins Masters for 5th time at 43

Post by Belle » Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:17 pm

A stunning achievement. Well done Tiger Woods.

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Re: Tiger Woods wins Masters for 5th time at 43

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:23 am

Was Sunday Woods' final crowning achievement, or is there more to come?

ESPN — AUGUSTA, GA. — Before Jack Nicklaus authored the most iconic moment in Masters history, when he charged back from 4 shots down and shot 6-under 30 on the second nine to win his sixth green jacket in 1986, he was considered nothing more than a long shot at age 46.

Nicklaus arrived at Augusta National Golf Club that season having missed the cut in three of seven tournaments and withdrawing from another. He was 160th on the PGA money list. He hadn't won a major in six years. He hadn't won the Masters in 11.

Sound familiar?

While Tiger Woods might be three years younger than Nicklaus was 33 years ago, and while he hasn't yet reached the same golden age as the Golden Bear in 1986 because of improved technology and the marvels of medicine, what he accomplished in the 83rd edition of the Masters on Sunday is every bit as remarkable.

For the first time in his career, Woods came from behind to win a major championship. He started Sunday's final round trailing Italy's Francesco Molinari by 2 shots, and sat 3 behind after 11, but chased the reigning Open champion down with a 2-under 70.

Woods won the Masters for the fifth time -- second to only Nicklaus' six titles -- and claimed his 15th major championship, which trails only Nicklaus' 18.

Woods also became the second-oldest man to win a green jacket at 43 years, 3 months and 15 days. Nicklaus was the oldest Masters champion at 46 years, 2 months and 23 days.

Twenty-two years ago, at the age of 21 and less than a year after he turned pro, Woods became the youngest Masters champion, winning the 1997 tournament by a staggering 12 strokes. He won his second Masters at 25, his third at 26 and his fourth at 29.

Woods waited 14 years to win his fifth, the longest gap between green jackets in Masters history. The last one might have been the most extraordinary achievement in his most extraordinary career.

Yes, Woods is ranked 12th in the Official World Golf Rankings. Yes, he won the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta in September, was runner-up at the PGA Championship in August and tied for sixth at The Open in July.

Yes, Woods was among the betting favorites this week. He's always a factor at Augusta National, where the club lengthened half of the holes to "Tiger-proof" the course after his 2001 victory.

In an effort to keep Woods from continuing to dominate the most fabled golf course in the world, Masters officials moved back tees. They added trees to the sides of fairways to make them narrower. They watered greens less to make them firmer and less receptive.

Woods was a very young man in 1997. Now, the most famous golfer in the world is battling time and decline, just like Nicklaus did more than three decades ago.

To truly appreciate what Woods did on Sunday, you have to consider where he was two years ago.
In April 2017, Woods' career was in jeopardy because of a debilitating back injury. Before Woods arrived at Augusta National to take his seat at the champions dinner, he needed a nerve block to endure sitting in a chair.

Immediately after the dinner, Woods flew to London to meet with specialists, who recommended spinal fusion surgery to alleviate back spasms and pain and discomfort in his leg. He had surgery in Texas later that month, the fourth back surgery of his career.

Some of his problems have been self-inflicted. On May 29, 2017, Woods was arrested on DUI charges near his home in Jupiter Island, Florida. Officers found him asleep in his car. He pleaded guilty to reckless driving and entered a treatment program. That incident followed a very public divorce in 2010 from his wife, Elin Nordegren, which revealed details of his infidelity.

"It was not a fun time," Woods said earlier this week, after receiving the Ben Hogan Award, given to the comeback player of the year, at the Golf Writers Association of America dinner in Augusta. "It was a tough couple of years there. But I was able to start to walk again. I was able to participate in life.

"I was able to be around my kids again and go to their games and practices and take them to school again. These are all things I couldn't do for a very long time."

Woods faced months of rehabilitation and recovery. He didn't play golf competitively for months. The first time he hit a driver again, it went 90 yards. He was afraid to take a swing. He had to rebuild his game from scratch.

"Golf was not in my near future or even the distant future," Woods said. "I knew that I was going to be a part of the game, but play the game again, I couldn't even do that with my son Charlie. I couldn't even putt in the backyard."

By December 2017, the player who spent a staggering 281 consecutive weeks ranked No. 1 in the world was ranked 1,199th.

While others might have wondered whether Nicklaus was finished when he won his last green jacket, even Woods questioned whether his professional career was over.

"I was done," Woods said.

Now, two years later, Woods is a Masters champion again. The 14-year gap between his 2005 victory at Augusta National and the title on Sunday is the longest in Masters history. Gary Player went 13 years between winning green jackets in 1961 and 1974.

Before Sunday, Woods hadn't won a major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines -- a span of 3,954 days. It's the fifth-longest drought in majors history. He had gone 0-for-28 in majors he had played since then.

Since Woods previously won the Masters in 2005, 55 majors had been played and 35 different players -- including 32 first-timers -- had won. It seemed that younger players like Molinari, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy had evened the playing field or even surpassed him.

In his younger years, Woods routinely outdrove opponents by 30 or 40 yards. At the Masters, it might not have mattered if he was teeing off from the Kroger parking lot across Washington Road. Compared to Woods, it seemed as if everyone else was playing with hickory shafts.

This week, Woods didn't even rank among the top 40 players in driving distance. He relied on his course knowledge, iron play and short game to come out on top. He was No. 1 in greens in regulation and ranked in the top 15 in putting.

For four days in Augusta, Woods played like a champion again. And his play resembled the great Masters champions before him.

"I don't think there's ever been a man that had as much talent," said Player, a three-time Masters champion. "He had his difficulties to encounter, and I always said if Tiger never had the problems he had, which were numerous, he would have won at least 20, 21 majors. I don't think there's a debate about that. I don't think anybody would ever deny that."

The question now is whether the most talented golfer in history can become the greatest player in history. Nicklaus never won another major on the PGA Tour after winning the Masters for the final time.

Was Sunday also Woods' final crowning achievement, or is there more to come?

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Re: Tiger Woods wins Masters for 5th time at 43

Post by Ricordanza » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:57 am

jserraglio wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:23 am
Was Sunday Woods' final crowning achievement, or is there more to come?
To truly appreciate what Woods did on Sunday, you have to consider where he was two years ago.
In April 2017, Woods' career was in jeopardy because of a debilitating back injury. Before Woods arrived at Augusta National to take his seat at the champions dinner, he needed a nerve block to endure sitting in a chair.
Woods faced months of rehabilitation and recovery. He didn't play golf competitively for months. The first time he hit a driver again, it went 90 yards. He was afraid to take a swing. He had to rebuild his game from scratch.
By December 2017, the player who spent a staggering 281 consecutive weeks ranked No. 1 in the world was ranked 1,199th.
This ESPN article explains very well Tiger Woods' staggering achievement in winning the Masters yesterday. Not only did he make a tremendous comeback from being at the bottom of the PGA barrel two years ago, but he faced a level of competition that was not present 20 years ago. I watched most of the tournament on Sunday and, while I ordinarily don't want to be glued to the TV for three hours, I'm glad I had a chance to watch this inspiring event.

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Re: Tiger Woods wins Masters for 5th time at 43

Post by jserraglio » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:03 am

Tiger in Twilight

Tiger Woods is back. But is he back like before?

SEPT. 7, 2018

Tiger Woods still has the most famous silhouette in sports, even after all these years.
From behind, the V-shaped back that tapers to the same 32-inch waist. From the front, the same muscular arms gripping a club, right hand over left, in that quiet moment before he coils. Relaxed in the fairway, one hand resting atop a club, the other on a hip, one foot crossed over the other.
All of them classically, identifiably Tiger Woods. Time and age haven’t altered the outline.
Woods is 42 now. He has not won a tournament in five years, a major in 10. He thought as recently as a year ago that he might never play competitive golf again because he could barely stand up. Golf would have to soldier on with stars named Dustin and Justin and Brooks. None of them Tiger, or anything like him.
Yet here he is, Tiger in twilight, and he looks the same, mostly acts the same, and is finally playing somewhat like the man everyone remembers, back in those good years before health and scandal took an ax to his growing legacy.
He even reintroduced the celebratory uppercut on the 18th green at the P.G.A. Championship in August, puncturing the steamy St. Louis air, and it was strange only because he did not win. But even in second place, it signaled that he was back.
He knew it. The swelling galleries and television audiences knew it. Those who started wearing red T-shirts with the silhouette of his uppercut and the words “Make Tiger Great Again,” they knew it, too.
Funny, that borrowed allusion. Woods rejoins the cultural landscape in 2018, a far different time and place than when he was last great — everywhere but a golf course, at least. That his re-emergence comes in the Age of Trump is a delicious coincidence, wrought with complexity that Woods would rather avoid.
A golfer who still may be the most famous multicultural athlete on the planet. A president cleaving the country on cultural and racial lines. Occasional golf partners, Woods designing a course that will have Trump’s name on it, Woods evading the subject of their relationship — “We all must respect the office” — while Trump tweets his appreciation.
Somehow, none of that matters. Not here. Not if Woods can help it.
He comes back into view with his familiar walk — purposeful, confident, shoulders up, eyes locked forward. Nobody walks like him, just like nobody swings like him or stands like him.
“Tiger!” cry the voices, too many to count. Nobody calls him “Woods,” even in middle age.
Fans freeze and go quiet as he gets close and stops, as if the Sunday school teacher just walked in. They aim eyes and cameras at him. That’s one change from a few years ago — everyone with a cellphone, as many cameras as faces, practically.
Zoom in. The only visible sign that he is older, beyond the faintest hint of age in his boyish face, comes after he completes the 18th hole.
The familiar applause carries him off the green, and he removes his “TW”-branded cap for a few moments, as golfers do as a gesture of decorum.
His hairline is in slow retreat. It is a thinning ring, like a faded halo.
More Approachable, But Better?
The working angle of his latest act, filled with presumption as much as proof, is that Woods is different now — humbled by the lost years, appreciative of the ongoing support, relieved at the opportunity to be here again.
But is he different? Maybe he’s more relaxed. Chattier during a round, though Woods disagrees. Veteran reporters and close friends say he’s lightened up, more like what they see in private. The testiness that used to accompany bad days has dissolved.
That all seems true, if you’re looking for it. Maybe it’s age and appreciation. Maybe the stakes and expectations haven’t been high enough yet.
To trail Woods at a golf tournament each day, from the moment he arrives to the moment he leaves, is to see two sides of a man who works hard to show only one. There is a person and a persona.
Fans don’t make the distinction. They like the familiarity. They roar in his ear when he makes a good shot. They smile in his wake no matter the blankness of his expression. They want it to be 2008. Make Tiger Great Again.
“We love you, Tiger!”
“You’re still the man, Tiger!”
“Welcome back, Tiger!”
Woods has always had some ill-defined “it” factor that drew our attention. It is even harder to explain now.
Is it all about his ability — or his former ability — to play golf? His personality? His charity work? His skin color, as the son of an African-American father and a Thai mother, which still stands out in the starkly white establishment of golf?
These days, is it more about where he has been than where he might take us? Appreciation or expectation?
You wonder what he could do to irretrievably break the hold. You wonder if parents tell their children about the mistresses and the famous Thanksgiving car crash into the neighborhood fire hydrant, about the prescription pills and TMZ headlines and police mug shots as recently as last year after an arrest on charges of driving under the influence.
But golf is a self-conscious world steeped in decorum. It is not a typical sports arena. There is no tolerance for insults. It is no place for scorn. In a week in New Jersey, Woods heard more Bon Jovi references than heckles.
(It is true. Tommy Fleetwood, one of Woods’s playing partners, was serenaded with “Tommy used to work at the docks … ” just as he struck a putt.)
So the masses go along, in their polo shirts and belted shorts, racing from one shot to the next. As Woods nears, they stare at him, like something caged in a zoo. Giddy from proximity, and maybe a few beers, they whisper about him in golf voices.
He looks good, dude. He looks fit. (He weighs between 180 and 185 pounds, same as he has for 20 years. Having slowed his fitness routine because of his back — more resistance training and stretching, fewer weights and less running — he tracks this with a full-sized doctor’s scale in his Florida kitchen.)
You see his entourage anywhere? Wonder if his girlfriend is here. (Over there, behind you. It’s Erica Herman, Woods’s 34-year-old live-in girlfriend of two years, standing with Rob McNamara, 43, Woods’ right-hand man. They follow every hole, inconspicuously strolling behind the mobs.)
Oooh, what’s he eating? (It’s peanut-butter-and-banana on pumpernickel. His caddy makes it for him.)
Wait, where’s he going? (To the portable toilet.) Oh, there he is. He’s back. Way to go, Tiger! He goes to the bathroom just like us! And so it goes, hole after hole, day after day.
In return he gives his talent and reputation and an averted gaze. Not much more. Woods always felt like a mash-up of robotics and marketing. Cold constraint was wired into the design.
Injury and Scandal Take A Toll
Forty-two is an awkward age for a professional golfer. If talent and desire have not abandoned you, youth and strength have probably passed you. Most contemporaries are gone.
Woods’s career is usually divided into Before Thanksgiving 2009 and After Thanksgiving 2009. That was the night that a tabloid-perfect infidelity scandal erupted. Woods crashed his Escalade near his home and his wife, Elin Nordegren, smashed the window with a golf club.
A parade of women emerged to say they had affairs with Tiger Woods. Sponsors tiptoed away. Woods went to rehabilitation for sex addiction. He and Nordegren, parents of a 2-year-old girl and an infant boy at the time, divorced.
He rebuilt his career, slowly, in the bubble wrap of the golf world, where naysayers are fenced out and ticket sales and television ratings jumped with every precious Woods appearance. A victory in 2012. Five more in 2013. The lost No. 1 ranking, restored.
Then, the lower-back problems. There were three microdiscectomy surgeries in 20 months. There were only 19 starts from 2014 to 2017. His best finish was 10th.
In desperation, Woods had a fourth back surgery — this time, spinal fusion in April 2017. It removed a disc and grafted two lower-back vertebrae (L5 and S1) into one less-mobile one, like welding two rusty and unreliable links of a chain together.
“If it doesn’t fuse, there really is no other option,” Woods recalled last week.
Weeks later, in May 2017, he was found asleep at the wheel of his running car. Toxicology reports found prescription painkillers and sleeping pills, plus an active ingredient in marijuana, in his system. Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving and went to treatment.
He did not swing a club for months. Then reports circulated around the tour. Players had been with Woods at home in South Florida and said that he was hitting again, looking and feeling good. He got rid of his coach. He swapped out every club in his bag. Tiger is coming back, they said. For real. Just watch.
And here we are, watching. And here he is, having finished second in the P.G.A. after being sixth in the British Open, looking like the good parts of the past are possible again.
Woods’s swing looks virtually the same to anyone who has seen him over the past 10 or 15 years. The effect of the fusion surgery may be mostly in his follow-through, as he tends to lift up his shoulders a fraction of a second earlier than before.
He still swings the club 120 miles an hour, faster than most. The drives don’t fly quite as far as they used to, but farther than most. Accuracy off the tee and putting have been his peskiest issues, but he still had the Tour’s 10th-best scoring average at the end of August.
Now he’s off to the Ryder Cup, and a $9 million pay-per-view match with longtime rival Phil Mickelson in November, and there is already talk of (and betting lines for) Woods winning a major in 2019. After all, the U.S. Open is at Pebble Beach, where he won by 15 strokes in 2000, and the P.G.A. is at Bethpage Black, where he won the 2002 U.S. Open. And before any of that is the Masters, which Woods has won four times.
A year ago, it looked like Woods might never play again. Now it feels like he could play to 50, if the gods of injury and scandal keep their distance.
He is not the best golfer, not now, maybe not ever again. But he’s not just another guy, either.
He Plays Golf with Trump But Avoids Talk of Race
Woods saves most of his smiles for those he knows. With galleries at a distance, he laughs hard at jokes on the driving range, sometimes the tee.
On one hole during a Tuesday practice round, with few fans around, he waved to players at a nearby green with a raised club. On the shaft was a vertical middle finger, on his face a smile. He did it twice. The others laughed.
As Woods spoke to reporters after his final round in New Jersey, Bubba Watson and Harold Varner III leaned out a window to heckle him. “We love you!” Varner called out. Woods smiled and tried to focus on the next question.
He can be chummy with reporters. When one stood next to the green during a practice round, Woods approached and, with an expletive, said, “Get away from my bag,” and laughed.
He seems a man happiest to be viewed from a distance, in two dimensions. A silhouette. No surprise that he has a yacht named “Privacy.”
Woods’ desire for a buffer from reality translates to the mystery surrounding his core beliefs. In 1996, when he was 20, Nike released an ad with Woods that read, in part, “There are still courses in the U.S. I am not allowed to play because of the color of my skin.”
He has since rarely foraged into any thorny racial, cultural or political issue, to the frustration of some. Either he has few strong opinions or he figures that there is little to gain by expressing them publicly. Either way, golf’s demographics do not encourage it.
But 2018 is a different era than the last time Woods captured the collective imagination. Trump, especially, is working the backhoe on the racial divide, finding sports to be a place to roil debate. He has ranted against athletes who knelt during the national anthem and sparred with LeBron James on Twitter.
Woods and Trump have homes not far from one another in Florida. They have dined together, Woods said. They have played golf, before and after Trump became president, including last November at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla. (The foursome included Dustin Johnson and Brad Faxon.)
Woods is designing the course for Trump World Golf Course Dubai, scheduled to open next year. The project took root before Trump’s company took on management, but the website for Tiger Woods Ventures, referred to as TGR, an umbrella organization over all of Woods’ business and charitable work, does not dodge the association.
“I’m enjoying working with The Trump Organization, which is first-class,” Woods says on the site.
Woods was absent from golf for most of 2017, and went most of the year without being asked about Trump or these divisive times. Through his agent, Mark Steinberg, Woods declined a request to discuss his thoughts for this article.
So I asked the questions at a news conference after Woods finished his final round at The Northern Trust, where he finished in a tie for 40th. The interaction took 60 seconds.
“Well, I’ve known Donald for a number of years,” Woods said. “We’ve played golf together, and we’ve had dinner together. So, yeah, I’ve known Donald pre-presidency and, obviously, during his presidency.”
What do you say to people who might find it interesting that you have a friendly relationship with President Trump? I asked.
“Well, he’s the president of the United States,” Woods said. “You have to respect the office. No matter who’s in the office, you may like, dislike the personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.”
I asked Woods — the son of an immigrant mother and an icon to minority communities, on a first-name relationship with a president many people of color consider a racist — the least-specific question imaginable, the news-conference equivalent of open-mike night.
“Do you have anything more broadly to say about the state, I guess the discourse, of race relations in this country?”
“No, I just finished 72 holes,” he said, looking for levity. “And really hungry.”
He amicably answered a few more questions from others about golf. Trump tweeted his appreciation of Woods the next day.
“The Fake News Media worked hard to get Tiger Woods to say something that he didn’t want to say,” Trump wrote. “Tiger wouldn’t play the game — he is very smart. More importantly, he is playing great golf again!”
A Superstar Driving the Courtesy Car
Tiger Woods lives what he thinks is a fairly normal life, which is what people who live extraordinarily abnormal lives usually think.
His mother, Kultida, lives a few minutes away. So does Elin, now his ex-wife, and they share custody of Sam, their 11-year-old daughter, and Charlie, their 9-year-old son. Woods takes the children to school and soccer practices. Just another guy.
And then he walks out of his custom-built mansion in Jupiter Island, Fla., past the swimming pools, and practices golf in the backyard, which is basically a four-hole par-3 course that Woods called “a short-game facility.” Or he heads over to the nearby Medalist Golf Club, playing with McNamara and sometimes rounding out the foursome with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy.
Or he goes to eat at his restaurant, The Woods Jupiter, billed as a “legendary sports bar experience.” (Woods Burger: Prime ground beef or bison with avocado, balsamic onions, lettuce, tomato on a brioche bun, with mozzarella or cheddar, $18.) Herman was hired in 2014 to design it and oversee its construction and operation. Now she lives with Woods, and the restaurant is a regular hangout, the site of company meetings and parties for Woods’s mother and his children.
Nothing about Woods’s life is entirely normal, but there are understated aspects that might surprise people. Maybe the best way to put it: His private jet is usually pretty empty.
He has no entourage, really. Woods has no swing coach. No mental coach. No driver. He travels with no masseuse or physical trainer, no personal assistant or gopher, no assortment of hangers-on that adorn those far less rich and famous. If he stays in a house rather than a hotel, he will bring his chef.
One who is always nearby as Woods practices is McNamara, a scratch golfer who has known Woods since both played youth golf in Southern California. McNamara is a sounding board, not a swing coach. He offers his assessment only if Woods asks.
“I know him, and I know what it looks like when it’s right, and I know what it looks like when it’s wrong,” McNamara said. “If I know what to look for, I can help.”
Woods split from his latest coach, Chris Como, in late 2017. His motto now is to swing away from pain. A coach’s tweaks could interfere with that. As long as his swing holds up, Woods plans to go it alone.
Lean and bald, McNamara sometimes gets confused for Joe LaCava, Woods’s caddy. LaCava spent 20 years with Fred Couples and joined Woods in 2011.
On one hand, his tight-knit company and his small traveling party — Herman, McNamara and LaCava, sometimes company spokesman Glenn Greenspan and occasionally Woods’s children — demonstrates what those close to him say about him: Woods is a low-maintenance superstar. On the other, perhaps it makes life easier to control.
If you were in northern New Jersey that week and saw a white BMW i5 with decals on the side that read “Official Vehicle The Northern Trust,” and did a double-take because the driver looked like Tiger Woods, it probably was.
He drives the courtesy car, always.
Then it is back into the bubble. When he went back to the house he rented for the tournament, what did he eat? How did he exercise? Did he watch TV, play video games or read? Skype his children? Make business decisions? Take Bugs, his Border collie, for a walk?
It is not for us to know. Privacy.
So you find the little things hiding in plain sight, like the tiger head cover on his driver with the threaded script. (His mother buys him a new head cover each year and sews “Love Mom” onto it in Thai.) Or the string around his left wrist. (It’s a Buddhist string bracelet, blessed by a monk.) Or the watch and red-and-white beaded bracelet he puts on soon after he finishes playing. (A Rolex and a bracelet made by his daughter that was red and black, but if you look closely almost all the black has chipped away to white.)
These are things he is willing to reveal, subtly or unintentionally, things that turn two dimensions slightly, so slightly, to three.
Tiger Woods is back, at 42, in 2018, far more than a memory, in good humor but keeping most of his thoughts to himself. He is a renewed but older man in a different age, forever recognizable from a distance.
Welcome back, Tiger, the people shout, waiting for a response.

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