Tiger Woods completes comeback as Scheffler earns historic Masters win
Augusta, Georgia - Tiger Woods has officially completed a somewhat successful return to competitive golf at the 86th Masters while Scottie Scheffler, the world’s top-ranked golfer, cruised to his first-career Masters win.
Woods carded a second consecutive 78 to finish 13-over-par but was given a standing ovation as he walked towards the 18th green, and had a broad grin on his face as he headed to Augusta National’s clubhouse.
"It was an unbelievable feeling to have the patrons and their support out there. I was not exactly playing my best out there and to have the support, I don’t think words can really describe that given where I was and what my prospects were at that time," Woods told CBS Sports.
Questions were raised about the 46-year-old’s future following his car accident in February last year and Woods replied, "I had the same questions."
"To end up here and play all four rounds, even a month ago I didn’t know if I could pull this off."
"It’s hard. I have those days where I just don’t want to do anything, it just hurts, but I have had a great team around me that are positive, that have motivated me and helped me around."
Rumors began to brew over the weekend about whether Woods would perhaps make an appearance at this year’s Open Championship and he did end up speaking on the potential opportunity.
"I am looking forward to St. Andrews. That is something that is near and dear to my heart. I’ve won two Opens there, it’s the home of golf, it’s my favorite golf course in the world. I will be there for that one," Woods proclaimed to Sky Sports after his round.
The Open Championship will take place from July 14 to 17 in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Scottie Scheffler wins his first green jacket in historic fashion
When Tiger wasn’t the focal point of the weekend, it was Scottie Scheffler who emphatically underlined his status as world number one by claiming his first-career major title in the 86th Masters at Augusta National.
Coming into this event as the world's newly-crowned, number-one golfer, Scheffler survived early pressure on Sunday from Cameron Smith and then kept a charging Rory McIlroy at bay to win for a remarkable fourth time in his last six events.
Smith rallied from a devastating triple-bogey on the 12th to finish in a tie for third on five under alongside Ireland's Shane Lowry, the former Open champion recovering from his own triple bogey on the fourth to return a 69.
Scheffler took a three-shot lead into the final round and, after seeing his advantage cut to a single stroke as Smith birdied the first two holes, chipped in for an unlikely birdie on the third to restore his overnight cushion as Smith bogeyed the same hole.
Smith also dropped a shot on the difficult par-three fourth hole and the gap remained four shots at the turn before the Australian made a superb birdie on the 11th, the most difficult hole on the course.
Smith's chances promptly ended when he hit a terrible tee shot on the 12th into Rae's Creek.
That left an inspired McIlroy alone in second, four shots behind Scheffler until the Northern Irishman produced a stunning birdie from a greenside bunker on the 18th.
The 25-year-old New Jersey native suffered the embarrassment of four-putting the 18th, but a closing 71 saw him finish 10 under par and three shots clear of McIlroy, whose stunning 64 equaled the lowest final round in tournament history.
"I never made it this far. It was just a dream of being here and competing," Scheffler said to ESPN. "I can't put into words what it means that I'll be able to come back here for a lifetime."
By winning the tournament, Scheffler became the first golfer since 1991 to win a major in their debut at No. 1 in the world.
Cover photo: REUTERS