Associated Press
Friday, April 20

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tiger Woods removed his cap and covered his face so he could flick away his tears, a rare moment when he wasn't in complete control.

"I've never had that feeling before," he said.

 Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods puts an exclamation point on the win with a birdie on the finishing hole.
Professional golf hasn't seen anything like this before, either.

Slam or not, Woods was simply grand on Sunday, claiming the greatest feat in modern golf with a thrilling victory at The Masters that gave him a clean sweep of the four professional majors in a span of 294 days.

When his 18-foot birdie putt curved gently to the left and disappeared into the 18th hole, he raised his arms in triumph and almost immediately began to reflect on an achievement even he couldn't resist calling one of the greatest ever.

A runaway at the U.S. Open. History at St. Andrews. A heart-stopper in the PGA Championship. The grand finale came at Augusta National, where Woods held off David Duval and Phil Mickelson, his chief rivals, to win No. 4

"I have a better appreciation for winning a major championship," Woods said. "To win four of them in succession, it's hard to believe. I don't think I've ever accomplished anything this great."

Woods closed with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over Duval, thanks to a spectacular 8-iron that grazed the cup at 11th hole for a tap-in birdie and steady play down the back stretch at Augusta.

"I was so attuned to each and every shot that I focused so hard on just that one golf shot," he said. "I finally realized I had no more to play. That's it. I'm done."

Duval and Mickelson each had chances, but failed to harness the magic that has carried Woods to five of the last six majors.

Duval, believing this might be his year after three close calls, made it through Amen Corner without a mistake but took bogey on the par-3 16th, firing his tee shot over the green and missing an 8-foot putt for par.

He had two chances to catch Woods, but looked on in shock as birdie putts from 12 feet on the 17th and 5 feet on the final hole failed to fall.

Mickelson, poised to claim his first major, also missed an 8-foot par putt on the 16th hole. He also failed to cash in on birdie putts on the final two holes.

"He simply does what is required," Mickelson said.

Woods never faltered.

His lead remained at one stroke when he missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the 15th, but he traded spectacular golf for solid play with history on the line and delivered, as he has done from the time he turned pro five short years ago.

"I've succeeded in what I wanted to accomplish," Woods said as he sat in Butler's cabin waiting for last year's winner, Vijay Singh, to help him put on another green jacket. "I don't feel ecstatic yet. It hasn't sunk in."

He later took a congratulatory call from President Bush.

All that remained was what to call this remarkable feat. Purists argue that a Grand Slam is accomplished in a calendar year. Woods, emotionally drained after a relentless battle from start to finish, stayed out of the argument.

"I won four," he said with a coy smile.

Final round at a glance
Winner: Tiger Woods, with a 272 total that was two shots better than David Duval and gave him his fourth straight major championship. Phil Mickelson was another shot back at 275.

Key shot: Woods, hitting a short iron 149 yards on No. 11 that came within an inch of going into the hole. Woods would make birdie to extend his lead.

Missed opportunities: Duval and Mickelson on No. 16. Both made bogey on the par-3 to hurt their chances of catching Woods.

Joy of six: It is the sixth major title for Woods. More importantly, it made him the first to ever hold all four professional majors at one time.

No peeking: Mickelson played with Woods but said he didn't watch Woods hit one shot all day.

Irrelevant: Woods made an 18-footer on the final hole for birdie that didn't really matter. All he had to do at that point was two-putt to win.

Close, but not second: Ernie Els, who finished second three times in majors last year, shot an even-par 72 to tie for sixth.

Not on the greens: Woods had nine more putts in four rounds than Duval and seven more than Mickelson.

Quoteworthy: "Some of the golfing gods are looking down on me the right way." -- Woods.

Woods can simply take out his trophies from The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship -- and claim a place in history that no professional has occupied.

Not Jack Nicklaus, his idol, who missed his chance to hold the titles of all four majors in 1972. Not Arnold Palmer, who dreamed up the idea of a Grand Slam in 1960 but only got halfway there.

The only Grand Slam in golf not up for debate is the one that belongs to Bobby Jones, who won the U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, British Open and British Amateur in 1930.

Fittingly, Woods finished his historic run at the tournament Jones created in 1934.

"A Grand Slam is something we've never seen before," said Butch Harmon, Woods' swing coach. "But we may see it before we're done."

Woods now has won six majors, as many as Nick Faldo and Lee Trevino and only one major behind the likes of Palmer, Sam Snead and Harry Vardon. And with his winning score of 16-under 272, Woods swept the majors with a combined score of 65-under par.

The final leg at The Masters featured one dramatic moment after another involving three of the best players in the world. All of them had their chances. Every putt could have turned the tide. The crowds watched breathlessly as it all unfolded.

Mickelson shared the lead twice early in the final round but was undone by the mistakes that cost him earlier in the tournament -- a missed 2-foot putt on No. 6, a drive into the trees on No. 11 that led to bogey and left him trying to make up ground on Woods.

Still, he was only one stroke back with three holes to play when his approach into the 16th stayed on the top ridge. Mickelson aimed nearly sideways, but his ball rolled left down the slope and past the cup.


Duval, who wasn't even sure he could play The Masters because of an injured right wrist, three-putted for par from about 60 feet on No. 13 and can only look back at missed birdie chances on three of the last five holes.

He finished with a 67, his fourth straight year in contention at Augusta, and the first time he has ever been runner-up to Woods.

Toshi Izawa had a 67 and tied for fourth at 278, the best finish ever by a Japanese player in The Masters. He was joined by Mark Calcavecchia, who had a 72.

It was Calcavecchia who called Woods the "chosen one" after Woods completed the career Grand Slam by winning the British Open in St. Andrews last summer.

"He's not like anyone we've seen before in the game," Calcavecchia said. "It's pretty impressive."

Woods was all business from the time he arrived at Augusta National, eyes locked ahead as he walked past Nike chairman Phil Knight and an entourage of swoosh-clad executives. He and Mickelson never looked at each other on the practice green, even though they stood just 10 feet from each other.

A huge gallery that lined up outside the gates some eight hours before Woods teed off followed en masse, standing a dozen rows deep around the green as roars echoed from all corners of Augusta.

Woods punched out from behind a Georgia pine, over the first green and made bogey. Just like that, there was a four-way tie for the lead. That was only the start of an afternoon of constant momentum swings among the top players in the game.

The biggest challenge came from Duval, who had six birdies on his first eight holes and had the outright lead ever so briefly with a two-putt birdie on No. 8. His putter deserted him when it mattered the most.

"I've been here before, huh?" Duval said. "I played well today, but I had a few opportunities coming home that I wish I would have capitalized on."

Woods won his third straight tournament and earned $1,008,000, his second consecutive $1 million payoff.

He improved to 25-4 worldwide when leading going into the final round, and he has been particularly tough in majors. Woods now has had at least a share of the lead in 13 of the last 16 rounds of major championship golf.

He now has won 27 times on the PGA Tour in just 98 tournaments, and six majors in only 17 starts as a professional. HELP | ADVERTISER INFO | CONTACT US | TOOLS | SITE MAP
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Final-round scores

Final-round leaders' scorecards

North: A textbook finish

Harig: Good not enough for Duval, Mickelson

Sunday hole of the day: No. 16

Frozen moment: Woods takes control on 11th

Sunday: Checking in

Sunday notebook: Singh starts anew

Woods isn't only winner at Augusta

More than 40 million watched Woods' triumph

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