Francesco Molinari suffers final-day disappointment at the Masters

Woods had gone almost 11 years since he won his last major, 14 years since that green jacket was slipped over his Sunday red shirt.

Tiger Woods won the Masters on Sunday for the first time since he did it in 2005, ending a long championship drought. While Woods and Molinari held the spotlight, there were other Green Jacket contenders lurking in the shadows, with twice U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka and big-hitting Tony Finau just two off the pace.

It was a life coming full circle in so many ways for the 43-year-old who seized his first major win in 14 years when he made a charge on Augusta National's back to secure his fifth Masters. He had a fourth back surgery with hopes of simply playing with his two children, not chasing Jack Nicklaus in history. It is also Tiger's 22nd appearance at the championship tournament.

National Basketball Association stars LeBron James and Steph Curry also expressed their admiration, although Curry hoped for a little more from Woods as a result of him claiming a fifth green jacket. "I think we picked the right shot".

"Now I'm able to play golf again, and do it at an elite level again, which is something I'm just very blessed to be able to have that opportunity again", Woods said.

The 79-year-old Nicklaus holds the record for most major golf championships with 18, with Woods now trailing the mark by three. "I'm so happy for him and for the game of golf this is so fantastic". But regardless of whether or not you sympathize with the golf legend, winning a major at his age after going winless for 11 years is an incredible athletic achievement.

"I think the kids are starting to understand how much the game means to me", Woods added.

The years since his last major victory have been drama-filled for Woods.

"I felt if I could somehow piece this together that I still had the hands to do it", Woods said.

Earlier, he started the day with a two-shot lead and sank a four-foot, par-saving putt at the first hole that for a while at least set the tone.

Koepka, one of four players from the final two groups who hit into the water on No. 12, rallied with an eagle on the 13th, narrowly missed another eagle on the 15th and was the last player with a chance.

  • Steve Townsend