Tiger Woods: ‘Seeing my children fight over Green Jacket was pretty funny’
The 44-year-old is gearing up for his title defence at Augusta National, where he capped one of the greatest comebacks in sport by claiming a 15th major victory last year.
Speaking in a teleconference ahead of the season’s opening major, Woods confirmed that his menu for his fifth Champion’s Dinner as host had indeed been set.
“Being born and raised in SoCal, having fajitas and sushi was a part of my entire childhood, and I’m going back to what I had in 2006,” he revealed. “So we’ll have steak and chicken fajitas, and we’ll have sushi and sashimi out on the deck, and I hope the guys will enjoy it.
“I’m debating whether or not to have milkshakes as desserts because that was one of the most great memories to see Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead having milkshakes that night in ’98 (the year after his first victory).”
After fearing that his career might be over as he fought serious back trouble, Woods ended an 11-year drought in the majors as he won a thrilling title battle on the final day last April.
He carded a closing 70 for a 13-under-par total, winning by a shot from fellow Americans Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele after trailing Italian Francesco Molinari by two strokes heading into the last round.
“I like the sound of that,” he said to being announced as the reigning champion on the conference call. “It’s been incredible for myself and my family to be a part of this and for me to be the current Masters champion, it’s crazy that somehow it all came together for one week, one magical week, and to have so many things go right that week, and that’s what you have to do in order to win an event. But to do it there, there’s so many little things that have to go right, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have done it four previous times, but last year was just an amazing week.”
As he came off the 18th green, Woods shared emotional hugs with his two children, daughter Charlie and son Sam. He admitted them being there to see his return to winning ways on one of the game’s biggest stages had been particularly enjoyable.
“I think what made it so special is that they saw me fail the year before at the British Open,” he said. “I had gotten the lead there and made bogey, double, and ended up losing to Francesco [Molinari].
“So to have them experience what it feels like to be part of a major championship and watch their dad fail and not get it done, and now to be a part of it and when I did get it done, I think it’s two memories that they will never forget; and the embraces and the hugs and the excitement, because they know how I felt and what it felt like when I lost at Carnoustie.
“To have the complete flip with them in less than a year, it was very fresh in their minds. Just watching them fight over the Green Jacket on the airplane was pretty funny. ‘I want to wear it; no, I want to wear it’, and that’s something I certainly will never forget.”
Woods, who also won the Zozo Championship in Japan last year, played disappointingly in his most recent outing in the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles. He then decided to skip last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship and is also sitting out this week’s Honda Classic.
“It’s weather dependent,” he replied to being asked if his schedule heading into the Masters would be similar to 12 months ago.
“Last year, the plan was to practise and prepare, and after the WGC-Match Play, I started to figure something out where I felt comfortable hitting the ball high and turning it over from right to left and I felt like I could control it.
“Going into that week, I really had amazing control of not only my tee shots but my iron shots, and the amount of time that I spent putting, getting a feel for it, and then coming in there on that Sunday afternoon and getting a nice quiet round out there, that set the tone for what I did the rest of the week.”