Apr 7, 2022 - Sports

Tiger Woods' next chapter begins 25 years after first Masters win

Tiger getting the Masters jacket in 1996
Tiger Woods receives his Masters jacket from 1996 champion Nick Faldo. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty-five years ago this week, 21-year-old Tiger Woods won his first Masters — by 12 strokes — and changed golf forever. A quarter-century later, he intends to astonish us once more.

Driving the news: Woods is the story at Augusta this week. Thirteen months after a car crash that could have resulted in the amputation of his lower right leg, Woods teed off at the 86th Masters.

  • Merely seeing Woods on the course will be enough for most fans, but it won't be enough for him. If you know Tiger, you know he's playing to win. "That's how I am," he told CBS in February.
  • "He doesn't strike me as a guy who's played at home and he's shooting a bunch of 75s and 76s and he's like, 'OK, I'm gonna give Augusta a try this year,'" Justin Thomas told the No Laying Up podcast.
Justin Thomas (left) and Tiger Woods during a practice round at Augusta this week. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The big picture: Woods' presence changes the calculus for just about everyone, from broadcasters and journalists to fans and players. It's also a huge deal for his equipment sponsors.

  • "We couldn't have asked for a better gift," TaylorMade CEO David Abeles tells Axios. Woods plays with TaylorMade clubs, and Abeles is particularly excited that he'll be swinging their new Stealth driver.
  • The Stealth is "extremely noticeable," Abeles says, thanks to its bright red carbon-fiber face. It's the culmination of 20 years of research and represents the future of TaylorMade.
  • The company that invented the metalwood in 1979 is now out to kill it, and the hope is that the Stealth ushers in the "Carbonwood Age." Woods using it to hit bombs on a stage like this? Invaluable.

Field notes:

  • Full capacity: Spectators were prohibited from attending the 2020 Masters, and only a limited number were on hand for Hideki Matsuyama's win a year ago. The roars are back!
  • New-look holes: The tee boxes on No. 11 and No. 15 have been pushed back and moved around, transforming both holes. Alterations are now the norm at Augusta, as the course tries to keep up with modern golf.
  • Missing Mickelson: Masters officials say Phil Mickelson was invited but chose not to play amid all the awkwardness. "His absence is unavoidable," writes The Athletic's Brendan Quinn (subscription).

Go deeper: Some people will never understand Bryson DeChambeau (The Ringer)

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