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5 best Tiger Woods performances at The Masters ever

For almost the last three decades, Tigers Woods has roamed the property around Augusta National for the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga.

In total, Woods has made 24 Masters starts and won five times, which is one short of Jack Nicklaus record, who also has three more major victories ahead of Woods.

Related: Ranking the 5 best Masters victories of all time

Through the years and through the trials and tribulations, Woods has had the great, the good, the bad and the ugly at the Masters, dating all the way back to his first appearance in 1995 as an amateur.

But like any major tournament winner, Woods was able to overcome the negativity into some of the game’s best moments of all time.

From his five Masters victories to his incredible shots (that he could only do), here are the five best Tiger Woods moments at the Masters.

5.  The Debut (1995)

Five years before the turn of the century, a young Woods made his first appearance at the Masters. Woods, who was a sophomore at Stanford that year and was a star on the junior golf stage previously, was playing against the some the game’s best stars for the first time such as Nicklaus, Fred Couples, Tom Watson, Bernhard Langer and another young face in Phil Mickelson.

Despite finishing 5-over par, Woods was the low amateur, en route to his T41 finish, joining the list of low amateurs in previous years such as Nicklaus, Cary Middlecoff and Ben Crenshaw, who would go on to win the 1995 Masters.

Being the low amateur at The Masters gives a player a bright future in professional golf, including players who would become the low score from the amateurs in years to come, such as Patrick Cantlay, Viktor Hovland and 2021 Masters Champion Hideki Matsuyama.

4.  Tiger Woods’ first Masters victory (1997)

Two years after Woods’ first appearance at Augusta National, he made his first professional start at the Masters in 1997.

Although Woods carded an opening nine 40, he turned that around with a back nine 30 to finish 2-under after the first round.

Woods wood go on to deliver a masterful performance – as a 21-year-old rookie – to not just win but win by a dozen shots, the largest margin of victory at the Masters. Woods also became the youngest Masters champion as he collected first major win in his first professional major appearance.

And that tournament set the bar high for the rest of his career, now more than a quarter century ago.

3. An iconic Masters shot at the 16th hole (2005)

When it comes to a Masters Sunday, winners always find a way to execute shots to have a final round for the ages.

During the final round in 2005, Woods’ tee shot on the par-3 16th hole went long and left. What it made it more difficult, is it was on the edge of the fairway, but his club would glance the rough.

Like his putt on the island green at The PLAYERS Championship in 2001, he took his time, but with a wedge in his hand. Woods walked up and read the green as it was breaking downhill, toward the water.

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All Woods had to do was hit his spot and believe it was going to fall in the hole. Once he took his shot, the camera continues to slowly zoom in until the hole is the width of the screen as the ball took a three-second break on the edge of the cup before falling in.

“In your life have you seen anything like that,” said Verne Lundquist, who was on the call as the Woods and the entire gallery went into shock and celebration.  

Woods would extend his lead to two with two to play with that improbable birdie chip-in.

This shot goes down as one of the best Masters shots of all time as it helped Woods go on win his fourth green jacket.

2. The Comeback (2019)

Syndication: Palm Beach Post

Woods’ 2005 Masters victory would ultimately be the end of a stretch of green jackets, but like Nicklaus in 1986, he was ready to return to the winner’s circle. That time would be 14 years against an entirely different generation of players compared his start in 1995.

In 2019, the roles were switched as Woods was the veteran presence in the field facing a bunch of younger players, who could hit the ball just as far as him in his 20s and early 30s. In addition, this was just Woods’ third Masters start in six years.

Despite the injuries Woods had in 2016 and 2017 that kept him out of the four majors in those years, Woods came into the 2019 Masters with a second-place finish at the PGA Championship and a sixth-place finish at The Open Championship the year before.

Related: What makes each of the 4 majors tournaments unique?

With him getting that motivation on top having all the knowledge from previous Masters appearances, his experience would actually favor him, especially down the stretch on Sunday against the younger competitors on the back nine.

The heart of Amen Corner is really where the tide started to shift in Woods’ favor. Francesco Molinari, who had the lead entering the par-3 12th, went into the water and double-bogeyed the hole.

Giving a player any opportunity on the golf course, especially on a Masters Sunday, let alone Woods, is like cookies in a jar. They will take it and that’s what Woods did.

After his par on the 12th, Woods would go on to birdie three of the next four holes, whereas his playing partner that day and current World No. 7 Xander Schauffele birdied 13 and 15 but the recorded pars in each of his final holes, including the par-5 15th.

Coming up to the 18th green, the gallery was able to give another Tiger roar as he won his first Masters in 14 years, making the comeback from injuries and legal issues complete. It also gave Woods his first major victory in 11 years.  

1. The Tiger Slam (2001)

Eighteen years before winning his most recent green jacket, Woods was the pinnacle of the sport, playing at peak performance in his mid-20s. In nine of 11 years from the 1999 to 2009, Woods won at least five tournaments, highlighted by his 2000 campaign, winning nine times, including three majors, excluding the Masters.

As a result, Woods was trying to do something no other player in golf had ever done before: hold all four major titles, dating back to his three consecutive majors the year before.

Ben Hogan tried to accomplish four straight major tournament titles at the Masters in 1954 but Sam Snead, who is currently tied with Woods at 82 PGA Tour victories, got in Hogan’s way.

Related: Who has the most PGA Tour wins of all-time?

Woods entered the Masters hot, coming off of back-to-back wins at the Bay Hill Invitational and The PLAYERS Championship.

In the first round, Woods ended with a 2-under 70 and five shots back of the lead. But being in contention until Sunday was key as he recorded a 6-under 66 and a 4-under 68 on Friday and Saturday heading into the final day.

With a birdie on the final hole to finish at 16-under 272, it would seal the deal for four major titles, giving him the career grand slam, but to win four consecutive major victories gave him the Tiger Slam, making history on a Masters Sunday at Augusta National.