By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Murphy: Far-fetched but not impossible, this is how Tiger could win at Augusta
Woods likely teeing it up in Thursday's first round of the Masters only 14 months after serious car accident
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker on the 15th hole during a practice round for the Masters on Wednesday in Augusta Robert Butaky Associated Press

Picture this scenario for a minute. 

And please don’t go out and bet real money based off anything in this column!

I’m a sports writer who rarely gets predictions right. 

But here goes!

It’s late Sunday afternoon at Augusta National and Tiger Woods is walking slowly, but intently toward the No. 18 green with a one-shot lead. 

The shadows are starting to creep in as the gallery, well into the thousands, are all descending on the final hole to try and get a glimpse at the most unlikely finish ever in sports history. 

Once up to the green, you could hear a pin drop as the five-time Masters champion eyes a 30-foot birdie putt to win it all. Tiger has been walking gingerly, all due to his horrific automobile accident in Feb. 2021 in Southern California.

After four days on the course, his body will be begging for a rest. 

But, first, he’s got a Masters to go win. 

If the pace of play is an issue, ‘60 Minutes’ fans will have to wait on CBS. 

This is Tiger Woods and another chance at making history. 

While it’s a longshot for the 46-year-old, never say never with Tiger. 

His last win at Augusta, in 2019, came when he came from two shots back after three rounds, birdied the 15th and 16 Sunday, and won by one shot after a bogey on 18. 

While some have soured on Tiger for his long list of transgressions in his personal life over the years, there is no denying he’s the most exciting golfer in the 21st century. 

Now three years since his last win at Augusta, Woods slowly walks up the 18th fairway, while millions of Americans would be on the edge of their seats thinking, ‘Can it be?’

I’m one of them. If you’ve made it this far in the column, you probably are too. 

This would mark the Masters title for Tiger that many thought would never see coming, after initial reports on Woods’ condition varied wildly after he left the road in the single-car accident which medical professionals later said would have probably been fatal had the greatest golfer of all time been without his seat belt on.

Let that be a lesson, kids!

So, 14 months ago most pundits and golf fans felt it was highly unlikely we would see Tiger Woods competing seriously ever again, he’s already proving some wrong. 

And, truthfully, it would have been selfish to want Tiger at 60 or 70% of his full potential trying to play championship golf. 

But he’s defied all the odds. 

Tiger won’t be winning any foot races after his leg endured multiple intense surgeries, just so he could walk normally again. 

But you can’t keep Woods out, if he wants to play. 

And clearly Augusta National is where he wants to be, based on his two early practice rounds and participation in Wednesday’s Par 3 tournament. 

If all goes according to plan, and Tiger doesn’t have a last-minute change of heart, he’ll be letting loose on the No. 1 tee with a 10:34 a.m. group in Thursday’s first round with South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Chile’s Joaqin Niemann (who finished two shots back of first in the rain-shortened par-3 event).

Once real play opens Thursday, Tiger will take a while to find his bearings. 

No doubt, he’ll throw a couple bogeys on the scorecard. 

Augusta National takes no pity on anyone playing with a physical impairment, not even Tiger Woods. 

However, he finds a way to stay in contention. 

It will be precision on the fairways that will give Woods even a shred of a chance to win, not the Tiger of years gone by who could hit 330-yard bombs off the tee or get to the green in two shots on some par 5’s. 

On Sunday, assuming he makes the weekend cut, Tiger will have to take advantage of holes near the end where he can pick up a shot on the field. 

Then on No. 18, he takes it up the dogleg-right turn toward the green. 

And with a 30-footer and two putts to win it all, Tiger makes history. 

He comes up short on the first putt, then taps in for par and a victory for the ages at the Masters. 

This is a wild scenario, but it’s 2022: anything is possible, right?

Bill Murphy is sports editor of The Times. He can be reached at bmurphy@gainesvilletimes.com. 


Friends to Follow social media