15 Apr 2024

Masters magic eludes fading Tiger Woods

7:39 am on 15 April 2024
Tiger Woods at the US Masters.

Tiger Woods at the US Masters. Photo: Photosport

Tiger Woods has produced countless magical moments at Augusta National but during the final round of the Masters on Sunday the five-times champion looked a shadow of his former self and left many wondering how many competitive rounds he has left.

Throngs of adoring spectators crowded the famed Augusta National layout and stood on tip-toes to catch a glimpse of a golfer who has authored some of the game's greatest moments but an injury-ravaged Woods was unable to produce any magic.

Woods made one early birdie but otherwise struggled as he dropped to 16 over on the week after closing with a five-over-par 77 in the final round, a day after carding an 82 that was his worst major round as a professional.

"It doesn't take much to get out of position here," said Woods.

"Unfortunately, I got out of position a lot yesterday and a couple of times today."

Despite his significant drop in form, the 48-year-old Woods still draws the largest galleries wherever he tees it up and the decorated golfer's very presence in a tournament brings an inevitable bump to ratings.

Charlie Woods, son of Tiger Woods.

Charlie Woods, son of Tiger Woods. Photo: AFP

Prior to setting off in the final round, Woods' son Charlie was spotted helping his dad in the tournament's packed practice area while a giddy swarm of patrons crowded the opening tee and jockeyed for position ahead of his arrival.

By the time he arrived at the picturesque par-three 12th hole in the heart of Amen Corner, a sweat-soaked Woods tipped his black cap to the packed gallery who greeted him with applause and cheers of "Let's go, Tiger!"

The massive gallery around the 18th green nearly witnessed a signature Woods moment as the 15-times major champion almost chipped in for birdie from 27 yards.

After tapping in his one-foot par putt Woods again removed his cap but this time waved it at the thankful patrons around the green who showered him with more applause and wondered if it would be the last time he competes at Augusta National.

Tiger Woods in action at the US Masters.

Tiger Woods in action at the US Masters. Photo: Photosport

Coming into this year's Masters Woods had only played 24 holes of competitive golf in 2024 due to nagging injuries but despite his physical limitations the 15-times major champion said this week he believed he had one more title run in him.

Woods made an encouraging start to the week and earned a record 24th consecutive Masters cut, but the toll of playing 23 holes in demanding winds on Friday after his first round was suspended on Thursday due to darkness ultimately showed.

"It was a good week all around. I think that coming in here, not having played a full tournament in a very long time, it was a good fight on Thursday and Friday," said Woods.

"Unfortunately yesterday it didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it to."

While Woods defied the odds with an improbable win at the 2019 Masters two years after spinal fusion surgery, his physical limitations and few competitive starts suggest another major triumph is not on the cards.

With three majors coming up on the schedule - - one a month through July starting with the May 16-19 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky - Woods said he plans to do scouting trips for each tournament's locale.

- Reuters