The force of Tiger Woods winning the Masters on Sunday, his 15th career major championship and first in more than a decade, was seismic.
It could be heard in the roars that rumbled across Augusta National, a wave of sound that carried up the 18th hole, toward the clubhouse and through an array of players already long finished with their day.
It could be seen in television ratings that soared despite an unusually early start when most people around the country were just waking up.
And it could be felt in the emotion that it sparked, from blubbering words and streaming tears on the grounds of the hallowed golf club, to the unbridled joy of a guy fist-pumping and screaming at the top of his lungs from a bedroom somewhere far, far away while wearing a stuffed tiger head. Even Woods’ own mother, Tida, oft-stoic, couldn't help but erupt inside a packed grill room as she watched her not-so-little boy complete his journey all the way back from the abyss.
Transcendent indeed. America loves a good comeback story, and Tiger Woods’ is one of the greatest. Everyone wanted a piece.
“This is a very special moment in the history of the game of golf,” said Bernhard Langer, one of more than a half-dozen past champs to put on his green jacket and stick around as a nod to Woods. “And of Augusta, and of Tiger himself.”
It was one of those where-were-you-when moments, so we asked readers the question of where they were when Woods won his fifth Masters on Sunday. The responses were wide-ranging and abundant. Here are some of our favorites:
“I was at a 4-year-old’s birthday party, huddled in a corner, steaming the final round on my iPhone. Doing so not only ate up all my data and proceeded to send me into pay-per-MB territory, but a lot of moms hate me today. I don’t care. I was not going to miss this!” —Michael Lau, Toronto
“I was scheduled to have my appendix taken out, but I was hosting a Masters party that day in my man cave and was determined to see Tiger win. My wife was begging me to go to the hospital, though, and I did after the first nine holes. I didn’t get to see the end, but the first thing I asked the nurses when I woke up was ‘Did Tiger pull it off?’ ” —Matt Dolezal, Rushville, Neb.
“My buddy and I had won tickets for Saturday through the Masters Lottery. It was his first time entering, but that was where our luck ran out. On Sunday, as we were watching Tiger take the lead on our flight back to Boston, THE TV WENT OUT as he was teeing off on 16! Most of the plane must have been watching, too, because I could hear all these groans. So the kid in the seat next to me started doing play-by-play for everyone because his dad was texting him updates. I wasn’t expecting this, but I got pretty emotional when I got to see him walking up 18 after the plane had landed. I love a comeback story as much as anyone, and this one’s right behind the Red Sox coming from 3-0 down to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS.” — John McBride, Boston
“The night before I explained to my wife, who is not a sports fan, that I was waking up early to watch the Masters and wasn't going to do ANYTHING until it was over. Fast forward to the leaders being on No. 11 and all of a sudden I hear the vacuum cleaner roaring in the next room. I got off the couch, calmly took it from her and told her this was grounds for divorce. The dirt on the floor will be there three hours from now and that’s just fine. Then I walked back to our living room and watched until the end. I finished vacuuming afterward.” —Brian Bartsch, Livonia, Mich.
“We had been watching the Masters at Imperial College and during the final round a professor was working in a classroom with a projector screen when we told him we needed the room to film a presentation. He fell for it. Two minutes later we were eating popcorn and watching Tiger tee it up. We stayed and watched the whole thing.” —Faisal Benjelloun, London
“I was at the Penguins playoff game against the Islanders, but it started at noon and that was a problem with the tee times moved up. So I kept looking at the ESPN app for scores and was getting texts from my son. Once Tiger tied for and then took the lead, I used my Hulu Live app to watch CBS on the arena’s Wi-Fi. It was the start of the third period, but Tiger was on 17. I watched. My wife watched. The guy behind me watched. The Pens were losing, but I was ecstatic that Tiger won. I’ve always been a Tiger fan, hoping he would make it back. Maybe he will not win another major but the Masters win and the win at the end of last year showed how great he is. —Joe Dykta, Pittsburgh, Pa.
“I watched the back nine on a delayed flight back from a friend’s wedding in Jupiter, Fla. I was cheering and screaming so loud it was a good thing my wife was a few rows in front of me to save herself the embarrassment. It was definitely my first time crying on a plane, too, as Tiger celebrated with his caddie and family. When I got off the jetway and saw my wife, I threw a massive Tiger fist pump and gave her a huge bear hug. What a Sunday!” —Simon Chio, Atlanta
“I’m a Division III college golfer and am addicted to watching golf, even though all of my friends make fun of me for how much time I spend watching the PGA Tour. But I was absolutely devastated when I heard the Masters was the same weekend as Coachella. Still, I managed to watch almost all of the coverage Thursday through Saturday by streaming it and when the Sunday tee times were moved up I woke up at 7 a.m. (who does that at Coachella?!) to watch before going to the show. All of my friends were sleeping, though, and it was hard to restrain myself from screaming and clapping during that back nine!” —Gabby Herzig, NYC
“I was supposed to be flying home to New York from Turks and Caicos during the final round. But when I saw Tiger was only two strokes back I changed my flight to Monday and went and watched the back nine at the only sports bar open on the island, Danny Buoy’s.” —Pete Paleokrassas, New York
“My parents were in town for their anniversary, which just happened to be the same day as the final round of the Masters. We were skiing at Mt. Bachelor and saw the scores when Tiger was on the 14th hole, and we immediately rode down to the bar to watch the rest with beers in hand. When Tiger won, I celebrated by ordering us shots of Fireball. What a great day!” —Leif Johnson, Oregon
“A few months ago I started a global golf society called The Royal and Ancient Company for Dishonorable Golfers with a bunch of golf-obsessed weirdos that has grown to about 200 members in chapters all over the world. We had our inaugural meeting during Masters weekend at Alwoodley and Moortown next door as a sort of homage to the menace that is Alister MacKenzie on the weekend of his greatest showpiece. We were all streaming the final round on our phones, clearly breaking every club rule they had, but nobody cared. Even the club staff were doing it. Every few seconds was another shout of how he was doing. Strangers would ask each other how he was doing. When we got inside, we sat in a room full of club members and a group of teenage boys who had also played in a competition. A room full of strangers was filled with elation and joy as they watched something magical happen. We didn't know each other but in that moment we were lifelong friends, cheering and hugging and disbelieving. We've already booked a trip to go back next year. —Crawford Anderson-Dillon, London
“I decided to go and play a round with my father who had just endured a double lung transplant last September. We played all day and the coverage on our phones all the way through. Being able to see Tiger hug his son like his father did so many years ago was a tear-jerker to say the least. It really hit home for me as I really appreciate the time I have with my dad due to his recent health scares. I will remember this forever. —Ty Boston, Florida
“I was at Augusta for my first Masters and with four friends. We followed Tiger all day and were right next to his kids when his first birdie of the day dropped. Then we went to the area near 12 green and 12 tee and when Tiger’s group came through we heard a massive groan, quickly followed by a cheer. We knew it had to be Francesco Molinari in the water. Once Tiger hit the fairway in front of us on 13 we started to think this could really happen. When we got to 18 it was already 20 deep around the green so we just stood behind there and let the sound tell the story. A 15-hour flight to L.A., a four-hour flight to Atlanta and a 2 1/2-hour drive to Augusta well spent. —Mike Caridi, Melbourne, Australia
“I’m a huge Tiger fan but am only in high school. I was super excited for the early start Sunday until I saw that I had to go to Harvard with my tennis team to watch their match. This requires trains and tons of walking. Scrambling, I grabbed my Chromebook that morning, and as we traveled through Boston me and my friends put up hotspots to watch the coverage. During match point we didn’t even watch the match. We all crowded around the tiny screen as Tiger took home No. 15! —Kyle Lankler, New Hampshire
“I watched every shot I could until I had to leave for a house viewing in mid-morning. So I told the two group chats I’m on and everyone in my entire family that I was going dark. No phone, no radio. My amazing wife even went into a store so my TW hat didn’t stir up any comments. When I finally got home I watched the recording, was screaming at the TV and turned on my phone to dozens of messages. Oh yeah, and we bought the house, too. Best Sunday ever. —Scott Watson, Toronto