One Champion, Two Hugs, 22 Years Apart
You could write a thousand words about the journey of Tiger Woods, but these two images say it all.
When Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters title aged just 21, he hugged his dad Earl, and the victory seemed to belong to the retired Lieutenant Colonel as much as it belonged to his son.
Earl Woods famously pushed his son Tiger into golf on military courses on the bases where he lived. The two were incredibly close, and in 1997, it was all joy between father and son on the surrounds of the 18th green at Augusta.
But the relationship between the two was also difficult at times, and the pair had a serious falling out for a year, only reconciling shortly before Earl's death in 2006.
Cut to 2019.
After Woods won his fifth Masters green jacket -- 14 years after his previous win here and 11 years since his last Major title -- it was his mother and kids he hugged.
Tiger has two children from his marriage to Elin Nordegren (whom he divorced in 2010 after his infidelity scandal).
His daughter Sam was born in 2007 and son Charlie in 2009. And didn't the world love their embraces today.
After his victory, Tiger told CBS host Jim Nantz that Charlie had never seen him win a tournament in person. Not a bad one to start with, kid.
Nantz also had some fine words as he watched the emotional scenes unfold.
"I never thought we could see anything that could rival the hug with his father in 1997,"he said.
"That hug with his children... if that doesn't bring a tear to your eye if you're a parent, you're not human."
A lot was different back in 1997 when Tiger won his first Masters, and not just in the Woods family. Back then...
- Port Adelaide came into the AFL but their rivals, The Adelaide Crows won the AFL premiership
- Australian rugby league broke into two separate competitions, with Newcastle beating Manly in the ARL Grand Final, and Brisbane beating the Cronulla Sharks in the Super League Grand Final.
- Martina Hingis and Pete Sampras were Wimbledon champs
- Bill Clinton was sworn in as US president for his second term.
- John Howard was in his second year as Australian PM
- Tony Blair became UK PM.
- Pauline Hanson launched the One Nation party
In pop culture:
- The movie Titanic premiered
But in golf terms, the year 1997 was all about a young man putting on a green jacket for the first time.
At the time, it was assumed that Woods would dominate golf for a long time to come, and those predictions were right.
But no one could have predicted that Tiger would be world number one for 13 years, win 14 Majors, lose it all through a combination of personal scandal and a debilitating back injury, then emerge in 2019 and win the Masters again.
It's the quintessential sports comeback story. And this time, the champ was hugging his kids, not his dad.