There are going to be so many moments from the 2019 Masters worth reviewing since it all seemed to happen in a blur. The birdie at 3, the entire 12th hole, the drive at 13, the tee shot at 16 and the final two tee shots jump out.
But the New York Times Bill Pennington highlighted one moment that has been under-appreciated in the analysis of the stunning 12th hole events: Tiger marching on ahead to the green as Francesco Molinari and Tony Finau dealt with their shots landing in Rae’s Creek.
Thanks to the camera view from behind the tee, we could see how Tiger make sure to do some green gardening, requested blowers to move pine needles, and in general, was prowling around to remind his competitors he was on dry land.
Woods walked over the Hogan bridge and stood defiantly on the 12th green glaring back at Finau and Molinari as they dejectedly stood on the other side of the water, rummaging through their bags for another ball and club to once again try to traverse the creek.
Woods was in their line of sight, standing with his arms crossed or one hand on his hip. He continued to stare in their direction with an expression that seemed to say: “Can you hurry up? I’ve got a tournament to win.”
We’ve always wondered if the new, kinder Woods would ever regain the edge that made him different. Sunday’s 12th hole scene confirmed the master intimidator and artful practitioner of selective gamesmanship had his mojo fully restored.
Of course, the shot played was pretty swell too given how poorly other leaders handled the 12th. Here was Tiger’s answer to John Patrick’s press conference question:
Q. For those of us watching, 12 seemed to be the seminal moment. When Francesco's ball went in the water, did it change anything you were thinking? Was it always going to be over the bunker, center of the green?
TIGER WOODS: That's all I was concentrating on. I had 47 over the first tongue in the bunker there, and so my number, I was hitting it 50 and just be committed to hitting it 50. There's a reason why ‑‑ I saw Brooksy ended up short. Poults ended up short, as well. And so I ‑‑ when I was up there on the tee box and it was about my turn to go, I could feel that wind puff up a little bit, and it had been something ‑‑ Brooksy is stronger than I am, and he flights it better than I do, so I'm sure he hit 9‑iron and didn't make it.
So I knew my 9‑iron couldn't cover the flag, so I had to play left, and I said, just be committed, hit it over that tongue in that bunker. Let get out of here and let's go handle the par 5s, and I did.
Yeah, the mistake Francesco made there let a lot of guys back into the tournament, myself included.