When Tiger Woods won his fourth Masters Tournament in nine years in 2005 by the age of 29, the question wasn’t whether he’d equal Jack Nicklaus’ total of six green jackets — but how many more would he win.
But after personal turmoil and a bevy of injuries set in, Woods didn’t claim his fifth Masters until 2019, capturing the win in a gripping final round in which some of the best players of the next generation of golf — Francesco Molinari, Patrick Cantlay, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka — each held a share of the lead.
He entered the Masters this week with a recognition that, at age 47 and coming off a devastating right leg injury, his best days were behind him.
“I don’t know how many more I have in me, so (I want to) just be able to appreciate the time that I have here and cherish the memories,” he said earlier this week.
This tournament didn’t end the way he hoped.
Woods withdrew from the Masters early Sunday with 28-plus holes still to play, citing his lingering right foot injury. Any hopes of that sixth green jacket evaporated after the second round, when his 73 followed an opening-round 74.
In a tournament marred by inclement weather and delays, Woods finished just seven holes on Saturday before the third round was suspended and decided to withdraw Sunday morning as he sat at the bottom of the leaderboard. He was visibly limping on Saturday as he tried to play through a driving rain.
“I am disappointed to have to WD this morning due to reaggravating my plantar fasciitis,” Woods posted to Twitter. “Thank you to the fans and to @TheMasters who have shown me so much love and support. Good luck to the players today!”
The word couldn’t have surprised those who watched him up close on the course on Saturday. He had two bogeys and two double bogeys and was 9 over par for the tournament and 6 over for the round through his first seven holes when play was called.
“He was limping bad,” said Thomas Pieters, who was grouped with Sungjae Im and Woods in the third round, which they started on the 10th hole, per Sports Illustrated. “He looked fine at the start but then it progressively got worse. It looked painful when I saw him walking from the No. 15 to 16 tee box. I told my caddie, ‘He’s not making it.’ Obviously he’s not getting to his left side. The shot he hit on 16, he’s hanging back and the clubface takes over.”
Woods has had continued issues with his right leg since it was seriously injured in a single-car crash in the Los Angeles area in February 2021. He has undergone multiple surgeries. And while he has said he knows he can’t play an extended schedule and had planned to play in the majors and selected tournaments, it isn’t a sure thing that he’ll be ready to tee it up at the PGA Championship May 18-21 at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. Or even in June, when the U.S. Open is played at the Los Angeles Country Club in his native Southern California.
If Woods never wins again, the record books will reflect 82 PGA Tour victories, tied with Sam Snead for the most all-time; 15 professional majors, three behind Nicklaus’ record; seven consecutive PGA Tour wins in 2006-07; and a record 142 consecutive events without missing the cut from 1998-2005, a record. His 2000 scoring average of 68.17 in 2000 was the lowest in tour history.
There’s so much more for Woods and his fans to remember than a rainy April in Augusta, Ga.
–Field Level Media