Remembering Tiger Woods' first US Masters win in 1997
It's almost 22 years since one of golf’s greatest ever players announced himself on the world scene in breath-taking fashion.
With little respect for the demands and rigours of Augusta, or for any of his high-profile opponents, Tiger Woods quite simply steamrolled through all those put before him to become to youngest ever winner of the US Masters.
Woods has gone to take the green jacket on three more occasions, but none are as iconic as his debut win in 1997. Golf fanatics will remember how poor Woods started the front nine whereby he posted a score of 40. Those watching at the time, probably didn’t fully fathom the sequence of events that were to follow as Tiger approached the tenth.
It was within that moment that something clicked, something aligned in the universe that resulted in one of the greatest sporting performances in recent times, not just in golf. Here, we take a look back at Woods phenomenal first major success but before we do, take a look at the US Masters odds for the 2019 tournament.
1997 US Masters
Woods was still a relative unknown when the tournament began on April 10th, but his name was on every bodies lips come the final round. Prior to the tournament, Woods had tasted success at junior and amateur level so there was certainly an element of expectation from those who had followed his career to this stage.
That expectation looked to be too much for Woods as he carded an opening round score of 70, after a fairly poor start on the front nine but he recovered to put himself back into contention on the back nine.
Woods’ upturn in fortunes started to surface during the second and third rounds, where he quite simply blitzed his way past all those in front of him. He posted a score of 65 in the second round and 66 in the third, opening up a commanding nine shot lead at the top of the leader board.
A final round score of 69 not only confirmed Woods as the youngest-ever Masters champion at 21, his record victory of 12 strokes over Tom Kite is still unbeaten to this day. Furthermore, his tournament total of 270 (-18) beats the previous record set by a certain Jack Nicklaus, and he was the first ever black player to win the Masters.
Naturally, Woods' Master win catapulted him into golfing folklore and the sharp-shooter from California changed the way the sport has been played ever since. Wood’s was not only brilliant with the driver and iron, his putting skills were something out of pure beauty and combining such attributes will only result in a world class golfer.
Woods quickly established himself as the sports newest hero and poster boy. Even those who aren’t keen on golf, can’t help but appreciate the raw talent Woods displayed in the spring of 1997 and the paramount success he has enjoyed since then.
Augusta National Golf Club even went about ‘Tiger-proofing’ the course to make it harder for future events. Holes were lengthened, new roughs were added and even new trees were planted to obscure Woods at future events. It didn’t work. Tiger went on to win three more Masters titles and has won 14 majors in total, alongside 80 PGA Tour titles.
Granted, scandal and injury have diminished Woods’ rein as golf’s leading star but the way he so easily and comprehensively brushed his opponents aside is one that’ll live in golfing infamy. His inaugural Masters win will always remain as one of golf’s greatest moments.
Warren Ashurst is senior member of the team and has been working as a journalist for over 20 years. A massive football fan, he also has a depth of knowledge on golf, tennis, cricket and rugby.