Tiger Woods didn’t enjoy the reward warranted by his efforts leading up to the 2018 Masters.
The 42-year-old veteran played three preparation tournaments in four weeks amid rampant hype over the end of his three-year absence from Augusta, but it didn’t go as he would’ve hoped.
After looking like marking his return to the competition with a career-worst score early on, Woods recovered to finish at one over par in 32nd place.
While his comeback from spinal fusion surgery was always going to be tough, the 14-time major champion must be looking forward to recapturing his usual form.
Speaking to ESPN after his final round, Woods revealed his understandable desire to take some time out.
"Generally after this tournament, I put away the clubs for a while,” he said.
"I usually take three to four weeks off, through my entire career, and usually the clubs are put in the closet, and I just kind of get away for a while.
"The run-up to this event is pretty hard and pretty gruelling. I pushed myself pretty hard to get ready. And I peaked at it four times [in his victories] over the course of my career, and it's tiring."
But while Woods’ scorecard didn’t make for very pleasant reading, one of his biggest fans couldn’t care less.
Shane Caldwell – a man who’s beaten colon cancer twice and is now stricken with Stage 4 lung cancer – has long dreamt of meeting his favourite golfer.
So, Caldwell’s stepdaughter, Jordan Miller, posted a tweet asking Woods to make it happen at the Masters.
The tweet attracted upwards of 10,000 retweets and is thought to have caught the eye of Woods’ girlfriend, Erica Herman.
“By the end I think they were hearing about it from multiple different angles, but it was Erica that made it really happen," said Miller.
“Her and Tiger both lost their fathers to cancer. So they probably understand a little more than most what it’s like to go through that.”
After Caldwell and his family managed to get tickets to Augusta, Woods met up with them prior to teeing off in the first round, bearing the gift of a signed glove to boot.
Reflecting on the encounter with his idol, Caldwell said: ”It was quite a thrill.
"It was really a great experience. Pretty emotional.”
Classy stuff, Tiger.
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