PGA Masters 2019: Tiger Woods wins 15th major tournament
The 2019 PGA Masters was the 83rd edition of the most famous golf tournament on American soil. The event brought together the greatest male players on the PGA Tour and saw golf great Tiger Woods win his first major tournament since 2008.
Woods win marked his 15th all-time major victory and fifth Masters win. The American golf legend is now just one Masters victory behind all-time tournament leader Jack Nicklaus.
The Masters Golf Tournament is held every April at Augusta National Golf Club. The tournament was founded by Bobby Jones, a famous amateur golfer during the 1920s and 1930s.
Jones and business partner Clifford Roberts purchased the land that August National Golf Club was built on in 1931. The duo worked alongside golf course architect Alister MacKenzie to design the course.
In 1933, Augusta National Golf Club opened and a year later, it hosted the first ever Masters tournament. Missouri’s Horton Smith won the inaugural Master tournament and was awarded $1,500.
The Masters became an elite mainstream sporting event in the 1960s and 1970s. It was during those decades that golf great such as Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player excelled on the fairways and greens of August National Golf Club. The trio amazingly won 11 of 20 Master tournaments over the course of two decades.
Although Tiger Woods has won five Masters tournaments during his career, the first black golfer did not play in the tournament until 1975. It wasn’t until 1990 that a black person, Ron Townsend, was allowed to be a member of Augusta National Golf Club. Townsend is still a member today and can be seen around the club during the tournament.
Due to the tournament’s prestige and popularity as a sporting event, tickets are difficult to obtain to watch the Masters. Thousands of golf fans go to August without tickets and simply enjoy the weekend-long festivities in Augusta. Golf fans can enjoy meet and greets with legendary golfers as well as high-quality golf outings on the courses around Augusta.
The Masters has one of the most famous trophies of all sporting events in the United States. The trophy, however, isn’t actually a trophy. The idea was taken from England’s Royal Liverpool Golf Club in 1937. Members began wearing green jackets to differentiate themselves from the public. In 1949, the golf club began giving the famed green jackets to the tournament’s winners as part of the award ceremony. Sam Snead was the first winner to receive a green jacket for his victory.
A lot of time passed between Woods wins in 2008 and 2019. Personal, physical, and playing problems plagued the American golfer during that time period. It was questioned whether Woods could ever win a major golf tournament again.
His play at the end of the 2018 season showed promise that a future major tournament could be won. Yet, his performances to start the 2019 campaign weren’t great. In fact, Woods failed to turn heads during the opening rounds of the Masters and it wasn’t until the final round that he emerged as a possible winner.
Francesco Molinari had led the tournament for large parts, but on the final round, hit his ball into the water hazard on the 12th hole. This allowed Woods to overtake Molinari for the win.
The victory gave Woods his fifth green jack and 15th major win. He is now one Masters victory away from Nicklaus’ record.
The 2019 Masters tournament had a prize pool of $11.5 million. Woods received over $2m of the total prize purse. According to the PGA, even players who missed the cut were awarded $10,000 in prize money for participating.
Major tournaments are typically four of the five highest paying events. The US Open is currently the highest paying major with a purse of $12m and $2.16m going to the victor. The third highest paying tournament is the PGA Championship which has had its purse increased to $11m for 2019. Finally, The Open Championship has a prize fund of $10.5m.
All four majors have a smaller prize purse than the Players Championship, however. The 2019 edition of the non-major event will have a prize fund of $12.5m. The winner will receive an incredible $2.25m.
Woods’ win made him the second oldest golfer to ever win the Masters. Nicklaus had previously won the tournament at the age of 46 to become the oldest winner. Woods is now sixth in the Golf World Rankings which is quite astonishing. Prior to the win, Woods had failed to crack the PGA’s top 10.
He has been on an incredible journey over the last 24 months. At the end of 2018, Woods finished ranked 13th in the world. It was 643 places higher than his ranking at the end of the 2017 season.
Nicklaus is the all-time wins leader at Augusta National with six. Those wins came during a 23-year period from 1963 to 1986. Woods is one victory away from equalling Nicklaus’ feat and could do it next year.
Woods isn’t just second on the all-time wins list, but also holds the record for being the youngest Masters’ winner. The golfer claimed victory at just 21-years, three months, and 14 days old.
The American could one day become the oldest victor as well. Woods is currently the second oldest player to win the event behind Nicklaus. The Golden Bear was 46-years, two months, and 23 days old when he won the event in 1986. Woods should have several opportunities to add to his wins at the tournament in the next few years.
The Master remains the pinnacle of golf tournaments for fans and golfers from around the world. To play Augusta or to view the tournament from its hallowed grounds are two of the biggest thrillers for anyone who loves the game.
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