2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Golden Bear
Harry How/Getty Images for The Match
Woods is greeted by a friendly face on the final green.
One of the great things about golf is that it’s game that can be played by people of all ages — and as such, professional golfers tend to last longer on the biggest stages. It would be ridiculous to suggest that an NFL player from the 1960s and an NFL player from the 2000s ever crossed paths on the gridiron, but that’s hardly the case in golf.
Jack Nicklaus, the man Woods is chasing for the most major championship victories and most Masters wins, isn’t just a legend from another generation. The truth is the two of them played in the same major championship on 22 different occasions. They even teed it up together as recently as 20 years ago, playing the first two rounds together at the 2000 PGA Championship.
These days, Nicklaus is a ceremonial golfer — literally, here at Augusta National.
Along with Gary Player, he has carried on the tradition of hitting a tee shot on Thursday morning during the annual opening ceremony.
After that, though, the Golden Bear usually speaks to the media, grabs some lunch and heads home for the rest of the weekend to play some tennis, go fishing, work on some course design projects and maybe watch a little bit of the final few rounds.
He had the same plan this week. It changed when he believed Woods might win this golf tournament.
Anticipating this on Sunday morning, Nicklaus headed back to Augusta, watching most of the final round in the clubhouse, as impressed as everyone else by that front-nine 31.
Woods’ back-nine isn’t nearly as dramatic. He birdies the two par-5s and pars everything else, easily cruising to a victory for the sixth time, tying Nicklaus.
Last year, Tiger was greeted behind the final green by his mother and kids and girlfriend. They’re there this time, too, but they’re also joined by Nicklaus, who offers a handshake and a hug when he greets Woods after the victory.
You caught a glimpse of that embrace live, behind the myriad cameras that were clicking away at the scene. And while you don’t have any predictions as to whether Woods will someday break Nicklaus’ record, you do have one prediction: That photo will soon be framed and hanging in just about every clubhouse, locker room and man cave around the world.