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Volume 70, Issue 130, Friday, April 15, 2005


Tiger's back with a huge vengeance

Fans say goodbye to legend, continue to witness 
the journey of another golf icon

Crystal Baller

Louie Vera

As one legend's book at the masters hits its final chapter, another legend's story was reopened. 

Both fought a similar battle this weekend and showed an uncharacteristic side we haven't seen before.

When Jack Nicklaus struck his 6-iron on No. 9 to 4 feet, the Golden Bear shed tears as he waived to the Augusta National crowd for the final time. Nicklaus has won six green jackets over his illustrious career and assured everyone that this was his last hurrah. 

On the same battlefield of emotion, Tiger Woods won his fourth green jacket and couldn't hold the tears back as he mentioned his father, who wasn't able to attend because of his ailing health.

Earl Woods has been there to embrace Tiger for his three other master's victories, but, fighting diabetes and a fragile heart, Tiger's father was only able to watch on a television screen at a rental home Tiger got for his family.

This win for Woods stuffs a Nike sock down everybody's mouth who said he would never win another major or break Nicklaus' major record. At 29, he is well on his way with nine major titles under his belt and will probably pick up two more before he turns 30. 

People must have forgotten that he has done this before. In 1997, after winning the Masters by a record 12 shots, he overhauled his swing with Butch Harmon and was practically off the radar for more than a year and a half. Then the new swing clicked, and he had a historical nine-win season, including the Tiger Slam, which made him the holder of all major tournament trophies.

So he does it again to improve his game and falls off the map for a few majors. The media said he was "0-for-10" before Sunday, and Tiger replied by saying "some people go 0-for-life."

Some are still skeptical as to whether Woods really has his swing together and keep speculating that the old Tiger would have done this or that. But the fact of the matter is he's back, and as his new swing continues to gel, there will be no more write-offs about how he's not the same because he will be better than before.

And that's pretty scary.

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