For the Year of the Golden Pig, read the Year of the Golden Tiger.
In what can only be described as a sporting Cinderella story, Tiger Woods won his fifth green jacket with a fairytale finale to The Masters – by having a ball at Augusta.
At aged 43, he captured his 15th major title to end an 11-year drought after undergoing spinal fusion surgery to end years of excruciating back pain.
“It’s overwhelming just because of what has transpired,” Tiger told a packed media conference. “I could barely walk. Couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t walk. Couldn’t do anything.
“To have the opportunity to come back, it’s one of the biggest wins I’ve ever had for sure.”
Big was an understatement – this was massive as he won a nail-biting fifth Masters title at arguably the greatest golf course in the world.
With a final two-under-par 70 round, Tiger finished on 13-under for a one-shot victory, bagging US$2.07 million in prize money.
But cash was the last thing on his mind.
Since he turned professional in 1996, he has reportedly earned $1.4 billion from the game, including major endorsement deals, according to Golf Digest and Forbes.
Wealth, in the end, can only take you so far. This was about his legacy and memories of previous major conquests.
“It has come full circle,” Tiger said. “This tournament has meant so much to me and my family.
“Now to be the champion – 22 years between wins is a long time – it’s unreal for me to experience this. I just couldn’t be more happy, more excited. I’m just kind of at a loss for words,” he added.
Yet as soon as he sunk that winning putt on the 18th hole, social media was abuzz about Tiger’s feat.
“Congratulations to @TigerWoods,” tweeted US President Donald Trump, who played a round earlier this year with one of the greatest golfers who has ever graced a fairway. “A truly Great Champion!”
Former President Barack Obama was just as euphoric.
“Congratulations, Tiger!” he tweeted. “To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit, and determination.”
Grit, of course, is a four-letter word Tiger knows all about.
After years of being racked with pain, he is now just three majors shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18.
He is also starting to regain his touch around the greens, which made him a birdie predator during his first golden run, while his long game is just as impressive.
“It’s the best I’ve felt with a driver in years,” Tiger said. “I felt in control of my long game and it really paid off.
“But then, I was as patient as I’ve been in a number of years out there. I was controlling my shot placement, especially seeing that [leaders’] board. It was a who’s who,” he continued, referring to a star-studded final day field.
“All these different scenarios keep flying around. It was an amazing buzz to follow what was going on and yet still focus on what I was trying to do out there. I liked it,” he added.
And so did a packed Augusta and the hundreds of millions of sports fans around the world as the Tiger burned bright and lit up Augusta.