An iconic Tiger Woods shot, a surprisingly good duel, and a shocking near-collapse made the 2005 Masters an instant classic

March 27, 2020

Al Tielemans

This is the ninth installment of our Masters Rewatch series, in which we watch and recap the last 23 final rounds of the Masters while we’re working from home due to the coronavirus. What better way to get your Masters fix while in quarantine than by firing up YouTube and remembering all the stuff you might have missed from past Sundays at Augusta National?

Everyone remembers the chip. That delicate, dangerous thing of beauty that spent far more time traveling backward than forward before breaking to a stop, and then, somehow, falling into the cup. But there was more to this instant classic than arguably Tiger Woods’ most iconic shots—and one of Verne Lundquist’s most memorable calls. “IN YOUR LIFE HAVE YOU SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THAT?!” Nope, can’t say that I have, Verne. Not even 15 years later. But there were plenty of other great moments that final round. Here’s what else that stood out when I rewatched this instant classic.

1.) A particularly fired-up Jim Nantz greets us because he has a lot to catch us up on. And most of that has to do with one Eldrick Tiger Woods. Three crappy days of weather caused the need for an early re-start of the third round on Sunday morning and CBS shows Tiger striding down a dew-ridden fairway before birdieing No. 10 (by the way he birdied his final three holes on Saturday). Behind him, Chris DiMarco, who had been in complete control, doubles the same hole. Then after catching a break with his tee shot on the difficult 11th, Tiger makes another birdie to tie for the lead! That was quick!

But he’s not done. A birdie on 12! A birdie on 13! That’s SEVEN birdies in a row! Fist pumps are flying! Take a look at this incredible graphic:


Tiger was actually nine under through 13 holes in the third round, but bogeys on 14 and 15 (ouch) kept him from a potential course record. More importantly, though, after playing catch-up himself all week since an opening 74 that included a putt into Rae’s Creek, Woods had seized a three-shot lead through 54 holes. So it was over, right? Nope!

2.) We have "GLORIOUS" weather at last, Nantz announces after setting up the final round. The first live shot is Phil Mickelson, who is defending his first major win, on No. 1. Yay! We’ve reached the era of showing the leaders’ entire final round! Just four years before with Woods trying to complete the Tiger Slam, the first shot shown of him came on the sixth hole. Now, CBS is showing Woods arriving on the range with then swing coach Hank Haney. He’s dressed in that famed red shirt with the mock collar. You know, the one he brought back in 2019 and won. He should never wear another shirt on Sunday again.

3.) Speaking of Mickelson, he had a solid week as defending champ, but a disappointing Sunday. He entered the final round in a tie for fourth place, but shot 74 to finish T-10. That’s OK. He’ll be back. Now time to focus on the two players who really mattered that day: Tiger Woods and Chris DiMarco. This would wind up being quite the duel in the sun.

Tiger Woods, 2005 Masters

John Biever

4.) Tiger had to back away from his opening tee shot because it sounded like someone was coughing. He gave a little chuckle and then smashed maybe the longest drive of all-time on that hole—344 yards—with a driver that looks the size of his current 5-wood. Woods only had 91(!) yards for his approach and he took advantage by spinning one to within six feet to set up an opening birdie. Just like that, Tiger led by four. Now it’s over, right? Nope!

5.) After a birdie-birdie start, Tiger lays up off the tee on No. 3. As he’s strutting down the fairway, Lanny Wadkins remarks, "If he could win by 10—which is possible—I think all the questions about the swing changes would go away." There’s so much to dissect here. First of all, win by 10? Sure, he’d won by 12 in 1997 and by 15 at Pebble Beach in 2000, but that’s still a tall order. Second, this was during the period when people were still doubting Woods had made the right move by switching from Butch Harmon to Hank Haney. But third, he had already won at Torrey Pines and Doral earlier that season and now he had a four-shot lead on Sunday at the Masters. I think it was safe to say the swing changes were working, Lanny!

6.) At some point, Tiger Woods’ record-breaking cut streak is mentioned. Following this eventual win, Woods would make just one more cut (finishing T-11 at Quail Hollow) before finally failing to make the weekend at the Bryon Nelson. So this was consecutive cut No. 141 out of 142. Amazing.

7.) Let’s get caught up on DiMarco, who is striping it, but missed great birdie looks on Nos. 1, 3, and 8. He doesn’t miss from three feet, though, on No. 9 after stiffing his approach. Tiger responds by hitting one inside 10 feet and rolling in the putt. Tiger still led by three, but this was clearly going to be a battle.

8.) They say the Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday, and Tiger started this particular back nine with a bogey on No. 10. Minutes later, DiMarco drains a long birdie putt on No. 11 to get within one. This is intense!

9.) DiMarco falls two back after a bogey on No. 12 while Tiger does his typical Tiger move there by hitting his approach 40 feet left of the flag and two-putting for par. When will others learn?! Actually, DiMarco took an even more conservative line off the tee, but went deep and couldn’t get up and down. But he wasn’t done yet . . .

10.) After both guys made disappointing pars on No. 13, DiMarco hit his approach on No. 14 to tap-in range. Back to one down. As every CBS commentator by this point has mentioned numerous times, "this is a match-play situation," folks!

Golf - The Masters

Icon Sports Wire

11.) Nothing can deter DiMarco. Not even a Trevor Immelman ace on No. 16 right as Chris is about to hit his approach shot on No. 15. He backs away momentarily, then sticks one to four feet—a much-needed shot considering Woods is already on the par 5 in two with a good look at eagle. By the way, many people probably thought that would be the highlight of Immelman’s career at Augusta National. Wrong! Much more on that in a few days. In the meantime, Woods two-putts for birdie and DiMarco answers to remain one down with three to play. Whatever is going to happen next? I can’t remember . . .

12.) DiMarco hits first on No. 16 and confidently picks up his tee with his golf ball in the air. It’s a fine shot that catches the slope and finishes about 18 feet below the hole. Then Woods goes and. . . goes deep over the back-left portion of the green. He’s in quite the pickle, and Wadkins does a fantastic job setting up the shot. And then, it happens. Let’s watch it, shall we?

And from a different angle!

"Here it comes . . . Oh, my goodness!" Lundqvist exclaims as Woods’ golf ball tumbles toward the hole. "OH! WOW! In your LIFE have you seen anything like that?!" Seriously, it never gets old. I’ve seen it 1,000 times and I still don’t believe it. Unfortunately, Tiger and caddie Steve Williams completely butchered the initial celebration, but who can blame them after essentially causing the entire state of Georgia to have an earthquake?

13.) After the patrons settled down—and the Masters may have been the only event where fans could settle down after witnessing a miracle—DiMarco misses his birdie putt and settles for par. Poor guy. Before Tiger’s absurd chip-in, there was a decent chance he was going to leave 16 with the lead. Instead, he trailed by two with two holes to go. OK, now it was over. Right? Nope!

14.) Many people forget what happened next, a near-collapse by Tiger on 17 and 18 that was almost as stunning as the magic he conjured on 16. He blocked his tee shot on 17, leading to a bogey, then hit a wipey approach—Kidding, Hank!—on 18, setting up another bogey. Oddly enough, a siren caused Woods to back away before hitting his second on 18. And then returned while he hit. "Well, the alarms going off in his swing," Nantz muses, "someone might be trying to steal his green jacket." Great line.

15.) And it almost happened moments later! MY WORD, did DiMarco come close to chipping in on No. 18. Nantz, for one, couldn’t believe it didn’t drop. "Look out! OH! OH! How did that not go in?!" Regardless, it didn’t. Nor did Tiger’s 10-footer for the win. Expect anything different? Well, actually, at the time, everyone did.

16.) Both Tiger’s bogey putt and DiMarco’s ensuing par putt (Woods chose to go first after missing his par attempt) were longer than I remembered. Tiger took his time before brushing in his three-footer and DiMarco calmly rolled in a six-footer to force a playoff. We’re going to extra holes! And we better hurry because we’re running out of daylight!

17.) Interesting enough, this was the first Masters sudden-death playoff to start on the 18th hole. The previous six all started on 10. Also, while we have a brief interlude, a few other interesting facts from the week. Woods and DiMarco finished seven shots clear of a third-place tie between Luke Donald and Retief Goosen, who shot a Sunday-best 67.

Also, this was the final Masters for three former champs: Jack Nicklaus, Billy Casper, and Tommy Aaron. Casper shot 105 (widely reported as 106, but our Mike Johnson was there and painstakingly counted every shot) in the opening round, but since he withdrew and didn’t turn in a scorecard, it’s not officially the worst score in Masters history. And we should have known Woods was going to win. Remarkably, in each of Jack’s final sendoffs at the four majors, Woods won the trophy that week. OK, they’re back on the tee . . .

18.) Woods and DiMarco both hit solid drives, but Woods gained the edge by hitting his approach right over the flagstick to about 15 feet. Like he did in regulation, DiMarco’s approach funneled off the front of the green. And like he did in regulation, the pesky pro nearly chipped in. But nearly wouldn’t be enough today. Moments later, Tiger buried his birdie putt—good thing it was center cut because that thing had some pace on it!—to finally finish off his worthy foe and claim a fourth green jacket.


Jamie Squire

19.) From the reactions of Nantz and Wadkins, you’d think Woods had been awaiting a big win for decades, but I guess it felt that way after how thoroughly Woods had dominated from the end of 1999 to mid-2002, when he won seven of 11 majors. "It had been a long time since he’d won a major," Nantz says while watching Woods take it in. "Almost three years."

Shortly after, Lanny added, "With the swing changes, he’s trying to prove people wrong, that he’s right and knows what he’s doing, and a win at Augusta is the start to that. I think a more convincing win would have convinced a lot of people. I think there are still going to be some questions because there were some nervy shots down the stretch." Lanny is a tough critic! The guy just won the Masters for his third win of the season! He’d only go on to win three more times that year, including a 10th major at the Open Championship. Decent.

20.) Speaking of tough, this marked the second consecutive major lost in a playoff by DiMarco, who also fell to Vijay Singh at the 2003 PGA at Whistling Straits. And he would also come up just a little short to Tiger in another memorable duel the following year at Hoylake. So this was no Bob May major cameo, even if the three-time PGA Tour winner never won a major. Golf can be cruel, huh? OK, let’s wrap up with a few observations from the green jacket ceremony in Butler Cabin.’’

21.) Ryan Moore joined Woods and defending champ Phil Mickelson as the low amateur. In fact, with a one-under total, he was the low amateur since 1978, finishing T-13. Impressive stuff. That dude is definitely going to win some majors. . . right. . . ?

22.) Speaking of projections, at that point no one could imagine Woods would have to wait 14 more years before winning a fifth green jacket. Especially after witnessing the sorcery he pulled off on 16. When asked about that, Tiger drops a fantastic "CUSH," referencing the two-shot lead it gave him. Those classic Tigerisms go way back. But he seemed a little ticked about almost letting the tournament slip away. Ever the perfectionist.

23.) And finally, Tiger addressed his dad not being behind the 18th hole like he had been for the previous three victories. "I talked to my mom this morning and we decided if I was lucky enough to win, I wanted to dedicate this to my father," Woods said. "He’s here, but he’s just not healthy enough to come out and enjoy this. So this one’s for you, Pop." Sadly, Earl Woods died about a year later. But even if he was watching on TV, at least he lived to see what would become his son’s most-replayed shot. And those of us lucky enough to still be around get to see it over and over (and over) again.

2005 Masters—Final Round Broadcast