View a Clip from the Film ‘Raze’
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You could see the confidence in his eyes. You could feel the passion in his fist pumps. You could hear the emotion in the crowd’s roar as they watched one of golf’s greatest climb back to the top after going more than a year and a half without a win.
As Tiger Woods sunk an 10-foot eagle putt on No. 8 to bring him within one of the leader – after entering the day 7 strokes back – we thought we were watching vintage Tiger orchestrate one of his magical Sunday comebacks.
Then, after saving par on No. 9 with a magnificent 18-footer, Woods tied Rory McIlroy and Charl Schwartzel for the lead at 10 under – his first lead in a major tournament in over a year and a half.
He had regained his magic. His confidence. His swagger. All of which had been missing since that infamous night in November of 2009.
I mean, he isn’t going to lose now. It’s Tiger for heaven’s sake. He is 14 – 0 in major tournaments when leading after 54 holes. Plus, he just shot a 31 on the front nine, and has been fist pumping all day.
But just as soon as the magic had come, it left. And the man wearing his tradition Sunday red Nike polo, looked beatable, unlike all of those previous years at major tournaments.
Ultimately, Woods finished even on the back nine, recording a 67 – his best score ever in the final round of a masters – and teasing us with beautiful iron shots that positioned him for makeable birdie putts.
But those putts didn’t fall. And Woods’ streak of 17 months without winning a major continues – the longest streak in his career.
Thus, we will have to wait, and hope that one day Woods will regain his full form. Until then, we might see glimpses of the old Tiger. Just like we saw on the front nine Sunday at Augusta.
But glimpses aren’t enough. If Woods, who has 14 career major wins, wants to beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors, he will have to capture the magic, confidence and swagger that made him so great. And this time, for a full 18 holes.