Throwback Thursday: Tiger's 2005 Masters win
A pesky underdog. Spectacular shots galore. And the final competitive round in Augusta for a legend.
The 2005 Masters Tournament had it all, even bad weather that plagued the first two rounds.
Chris DiMarco, who first made a splash at Augusta National Golf Club when he challenged as a rookie in 2001, was on top again. The former Florida star opened with a pair of 67s to open up a comfortable lead.
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, was trying to regain his spot at the top of the game, both figuratively and literally. A streak of not winning in his last 10 majors combined with a swing overhaul with new coach Hank Haney had knocked Woods from his customary perch atop the Official World Golf Ranking.
A first-round 74 didn’t help Woods, nor did the weather delays that pushed the opening round into Friday.
Woods got back on track in the second round with 6-under-par 66, the low round of the day. But it still left him six shots behind the surprising DiMarco.
Saturday was a day to remember. With the second round wrapping up that morning because of the weather delays, six-time Masters winner Jack Nicklaus announced that he was done as a competitor.
Later that afternoon, when the third round finally began, DiMarco and Woods were paired together. Woods birded Nos. 7, 8 and 9, his final three holes of the day, to cap a front-nine 31 and pull within four of DiMarco.
Nobody else was close to DiMarco and Woods, and that didn’t change when the third round was completed Sunday morning. What did change was Woods overtaking DiMarco for the lead.
Woods birdied Nos. 10 through 13 to continue his hot streak and match the tournament record with seven consecutive birdies. Meanwhile, DiMarco struggled and shot 41 on the back nine. Woods had turned a four-shot deficit into a three-shot lead.
While most figured it would be another Sunday afternoon stroll for Woods, DiMarco wasn’t about to give up. He matched Woods’ 34 on the front nine, and then the real fun began.
DiMarco made up two shots over the next six holes and trailed by just one coming into the par-3 16th hole. When he hit the green and Woods’ tee shot sailed long, DiMarco had the advantage.
But not for long.
Woods played his chip well above the hole, then watched as it slowly trickled toward the cup. It stopped momentarily, then fell in the cup for an unlikely birdie.
“Oh my goodness,” CBS Verne Lundquist said as he described the shot. “Oh wow. In your life have you seen anything like that?”
That set off a huge celebration for Woods and caddie Steve Williams.
“Got a great break on 16, didn’t go in the bunker, didn’t go in the rough and somehow an earthquake happened and it fell in the hole,” said Woods, who now led by two with two holes to play.
But Woods made two bogeys coming in, sendind him and DiMarco into a sudden-death playoff. Thanks to a change in format, the playoff began on No. 18.
Woods hit his approach to 15 feet past the pin, while DiMarco’s second shot spun off the green. He chipped close and had a tap-in for par.
“I was trying to make birdie,” DiMarco said of his chip. “I felt like we needed to make birdie to beat him. I said, ‘We’re going to have to make a putt for birdie to win. It’s not going to be given to us with a par.’”
That set the stage for Woods, who has a flair for pressure situations. He rolled the birdie putt into the heart of the cup, setting off a giant fist pump and another celebration with his caddie.
The victory was the Woods’ fourth of his career at Augusta National for Woods, matching Arnold Palmer for second most. And it gave Woods another victory in a major that also served as Nicklaus’ farewell. Later that summer, at the British Open at St. Andrews, Woods would win again to complete the sweep of majors in the same year Nicklaus retired from them.
The win at Augusta also restored Woods’ place at the top of the golf rankings, and validated his work with Haney.
Woods also tipped his hat to DiMarco, who played in the final Masters pairing for the second year in a row.
“This was one fun victory, but I’ve got to say it was a lot of work because I was playing against one heckuva competitor out there in Chris DiMarco,” Woods said. “We all know this as players, but he has no backoff in him. He’ll come right at you, tooth and nail. He’s a fighter, what else can you say?”
1995: Ben Crenshaw
1985: Bernhard Langer
1975: Jack Nicklaus
1965: Jack Nicklaus
The Big Three of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player dominated the Masters from 1958 to 1966, winning all but one green jacket. In this year, one would stand head and shoulders above the others.
Nicklaus came out firing with 67 in the first round to trail only Player. A second-round 71 left Nicklaus, Player and Palmer tied for first.
A thrilling weekend shootout seemed to be on tap, but what happened shocked the world of golf.
Nicklaus, after making a slight adjustment in his putting stroke, rolled in a medium-length birdie putt on the second hole of his third round. Another one fell on the fourth, then again on the sixth. When he birdied Nos. 7 and 8, the rout was on and the course record of 64, set by Lloyd Mangrum in 1940, was in jeopardy.
Three more birdies on the inward nine gave Nicklaus a 64 of his own and left him five clear of Player and eight ahead of Palmer.
Next up was Ben Hogan’s tournament record of 274. Nicklaus took care of that Sunday with a closing 69, and it established a new 72-hole scoring record of 271.
His margin of victory, by nine strokes over Palmer and Player, also shattered the previous mark.
1955: Cary Middlecoff
1935: Gene Sarazen