It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since Tiger Woods’ historic 12-stroke triumph at the 1997 Masters.
But, alas, time marches on as it has, and Tiger Woods (with Lorne Rubenstein) is writing a book about the tournament. It is appropriately titled “The 1997 Masters; My Story.”
After Woods’ inspired second-round 66 put him three strokes clear of Colin Montgomerie, reporters, not surprisingly, wanted the veteran Scot’s take on the 21-year-old.
But as Woods says, per an excerpt in Golfweek, Monty’s post-round remarks only added fuel to the considerable fire of wunderkind Woods’ determination.
“If I needed any extra motivation for my third round, Colin Montgomerie provided it during his media conference the day before. Monty was in second place, three shots behind me, and so we were going to play together in the last twosome on Saturday, just after two o’clock. At the conference, Monty was asked about our prospects for Saturday, and he spoke his mind, saying that everybody would see in the third round what I was made of, and that experience was a ‘key factor.’ His comments only strengthened my resolve to play my best golf the rest of the way.”
And of course, with his “strengthened resolve” Tiger Woods played unimaginably brilliant golf in the third round, considering his age, lack of experience, and pressure of being thrust alone into the spotlight on golf’s biggest stage.
Writing about his third round, Woods says: “I had a clean card, eleven pars and seven birdies, for 65. That was the kind of golf I had been working toward. Monty and I shook hands on the eighteenth green. His 74 had put him twelve shots behind me, after starting the round three shots behind.”
Montgomerie, pressed for comment after his thorough dusting, uttered two of the most famous lines of the ‘97 Masters myth:
“There is no chance humanly possible that Tiger is just going to lose this tournament.” and “Greg Norman is not Tiger Woods,” regarding Norman’s relinquishing of a six-stroke lead in 1996.
While the betting man would say that, with his withdrawal from the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the chances of seeing Tiger Woods at this year’s Masters are slim, at least golf fans will be able to get a fresh, first-hand look at the glory of Woods’ 1997 win.
You may think that Tiger’s back surgeries was the beginning of the end, but you would be surprised to find out he was having surgeries well before all of that.