AUGUSTA, Ga. - His march into golf's history book began four years ago at Augusta National Golf Club. Yesterday, Tiger Woods took the final step.
The 25-year-old Woods won his second Masters title in a final-round shootout with David Duval and Phil Mickelson and became the first golfer in modern history to hold all four major championships at once.
It may not be the Grand Slam, which by tradition has to be earned in the same year, but it surely is golf's grandest accomplishment in the past 70 years, if not of all time.
Only Bobby Jones, the great amateur who founded Augusta National, has claimed a single-season Grand Slam. He did it in 1930 by winning the Open and Amateur championships of both the United States and Great Britain.
Woods added the Masters title to the championships he won last year in the U.S. Open, British Open, and PGA Championship. Those, of course, are the current Grand Slam events.
Woods rolled a 15-foot, downhill birdie putt dead center on the 18th green to cap a round of 68 that produced a 16-under-par, 272 total and a two-shot win over Duval. Mickelson finished third, three strokes behind Woods.
“It's very special, it really is,” Woods said. “To win four majors in succession is hard to believe. I've won a lot of tournaments and I've had some very special things happen to me in my career. But I've never before accomplished anything this great.”
Woods' coming-out party was held here in 1997 when he set Masters' scoring records with a 18-under-par 270 total and a whopping 12-shot victory. In the process, he became the first African-American golfer to win a major championship.
“When I won in '97, I hadn't been a pro for a full year yet,” Woods said. “I was young and na ve, and I probably didn't understand exactly what it meant. Now, I understand. So many things go into winning a major and to have everything go right four straight times means the golfing gods have been good to me.”
Woods' win yesterday, coming in his 121st professional tournament, was the 34th of his career. He has won five of the last six major championships.