Carmel Magazine

Spring-Summer 2019

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Page 135 of 267

F irst-time visitors to Augusta National almost always remark upon the dramatic topography of the terrain, the scale of which is lost on television. Standing at the back of the club- house, the course falls away at your feet. The lowest point on the property is the 12th tee, way down in Amen Corner. Tiger Woods, 43, stood on that hallowed turf during the final round of this year's Masters, the tournament suddenly within his grasp. His playing partner Francesco Molinari had just dunked his tee shot into Rae's Creek, a stunning mistake that would give Woods a share of the lead. Woods was suddenly seven holes away from climbing one of the tallest mountains in sports history. Swing by swing, the crowd carried him home. Woods has always been revered, but only recently has he become beloved. He played the most dominant golf of all time during the first act of his career, from 1997-2009, but since then, he has been to hell and back: the most sala- cious scandal of the Internet age; sex-addiction rehab; a nine-figure divorce; injury; swing problems; the chip-yips; four back surgeries; a DUI related to prescription painkillers; more rehab. Over the last decade, Woods has been forced to reinvent himself as a person and a player. All that was left was the catharsis that would come with another major championship victory. Woods played perfect golf on the long walk up the hill to Augusta National's final green. Chaos reigned all around him, with overwrought fans jockeying for a glimpse of history. The Internet was melting. Grizzled old champions were watching in the clubhouse, blinking back tears. Now 43, with a spinal cord that was surgically fused in 2017, Woods has had to relearn how to swing, stripping away years of overly technical advice and returning to the more natural action of his youth. 134 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 9 Photo: Shutterstock

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