Tiger Woods had done it four previous times in his career.
But there was something different about winning the Masters for the fifth time that left him moved more than he’d ever been before last April at Augusta National.
“I had just an amazing amount of emails and texts that were flowing in, but I was more surprised the amount of videos of people watching the Masters and seeing their reaction when I hit the shot on 16 or when I made the putt, whether it was on airplanes or in airports or restaurants,” Woods said Tuesday on a pre-Masters conference call. “Seeing the amount of reactions and the amount of people that were riveted by the Masters and … the amount of emotion that people were showing, that’s what blew my mind. I didn’t think that that many people were going to be moved that way.”
Woods, who is seeking his 83rd career victory which would break Sam Snead’s record for most ever on the PGA Tour, also blew his mind by doing something he’d never done before.
“I was just trying to win the event and do something I’ve never done before, which is come from behind in a major championship and win,” Woods recalled.
Woods said the first time he watched the replay of the tournament was about a month later. He invited his caddie, Joe LaCava, to his Florida home and they watched it together.
“We were talking back and forth, and reliving every bit of it, because we have a certain viewpoint of how we look at it — the shots, the numbers, the situations — and people are making birdies and all the different scenarios were playing out in our heads,” he said. “It was kind of fun to sit back and listen to the broadcast and hear their take on it. What we don’t have access to (while playing) is what people are doing it in front of us. We hear the roars, we hear the birdies that were being made.
“That was kind of the fun part is reliving that from a totally different perspective than what we did.”
Woods, too, said having his two children on the grounds to watch him win was most special to him, and that was a big part of his visceral reaction to victory on the 72nd hole when he clinched victory.
“What made it so special is that they saw me fail the year before at the British Open,” Woods said. “I had gotten the lead there and made bogey, double, and ended up losing to Francesco (Molinari). So, to have them experience what it feels like to be part of a major championship and watch their dad fail and not get it done, and now to be a part of it and when I did get it done, I think it’s two memories that they will never forget.
“And,” Woods went on, “the embraces and the hugs and the excitement, because they know how I felt and what it felt like when I lost at Carnoustie. To have the complete flip with them in less than a year, it was very fresh in their minds. Just watching them fight over the green jacket on the airplane was pretty funny. ‘I want to wear it; no, I want to wear it,’ and that’s something I certainly will never forget.”
There are many things Woods will never forget about the Masters, such as his first win in 1997, and the first Champions Dinner he ever hosted, two days before the 1998 Masters.
This year’s dinner will provide another memory, and Woods on Tuesday said he’s already pretty set on the menu.
“Being born and raised in SoCal, having fajitas and sushi was a part of my entire childhood, and I’m going back to what I had in 2006,’’ he said. “So, we’ll have steak and chicken fajitas, and we’ll have sushi and sashimi out on the deck, and I hope the guys will enjoy it. I’m debating whether or not to have milkshakes as desserts because that was one of the (greatest) memories to see Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead having milkshakes that night in ’98.”