Tiger Woods admits 'special' Masters win compares to Jack Nicklaus' Augusta triumph in 1986

April 15, 2019

Tiger Woods could not help but draw comparisons with Jack Nicklaus' famous Masters win in 1986 as he reflected on his own historic triumph at Augusta.

Nicklaus ended a six-year wait for his 18th and final major championship when he held off Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman to win his sixth Masters at the age of 46.

Nicklaus' record as the oldest winner of the tournament still stands with Woods now 43, but the new world No 6 was forced to wait 11 years between his 14th and 15th major championship and he admitted the '86 Masters was a huge influence on him.

"I can tell you that '86 meant a lot to me because that was the first memory that I have of the Masters, seeing Jack celebrate a 4‑iron into the green on 15," Woods said.

"When he did that, I had never seen anybody celebrate an iron shot into a green before. That's a moment that stuck with me.

"Then I remember seeing him hug Jackie there on 18, how special that was. And then I remember obviously Seve made a mistake at 15 and Greg made a mistake at 18.

"He was 46 years old; I'm 43. We had little spells in between. He had six years where he didn't win a major championship, and for me, it was 11 years. In either case, I think that's what everyone else ‑ that's for them to decide [which is more special].

"It's special to me. It's special to my friends and family, and I think that everyone out here who was here got a chance to witness something that was amazing and just the competitive environment.

"Everyone was playing well at the same time, and it could have gone so many different ways. Just happened to hang in there and persevere."

Given the impact Nicklaus had on him, Woods is proud of the effect he has had on the generation that followed him, and is thrilled to have created winning memories for his children who have seen him struggle for the last 10 years.

"I think that I've driven a lot more youth to the game," he added. "You know, a lot of the guys that are ‑ especially on the Tour now, are training. They are getting bigger, stronger, faster, more athletic. They are recovering better. They are hitting the ball prodigious distances, and a little bit of that's probably attributed to what I did.

"When I first turned pro, I was the only one in the gym, except Vijay [Singh]. So it was just basically he and I for years, and now everyone trains. Everyone works on their bodies, besides their game, and hey, even Phil [Mickelson] is working out! Things have come a long way.

"I think the kids are starting to understand how much this game means to me, and some of the things I've done in the game.

"Prior to comeback, they only knew that golf caused me a lot of pain. If I tried to swing a club I would be on the ground and I struggled for years, and that's basically all they remember.

"Luckily I've had the procedure where that's no longer the case and I can do this again. So, you know, we're creating new memories for them, and it's just very special."

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