Several GOLF Academy lead coaches have pointed to Tiger Woods’ historic win at The Masters in 1997 as the reason why they got into golf and, eventually, coaching. So what did they think about Tiger’s latest triumph at Augusta National—his first Masters title since 2005 and 15th major overall—and what it means to Tiger and the game of golf? We asked them, and also got their take on the once again very popular G.O.A.T. debate between Tiger and Jack Nicklaus. Here’s how they answered.
Describe the emotions you were feeling when Tiger putted out on No. 18 to win his fifth green jacket?
“I was amazed at what I was seeing. Not just the crowd reaction but the overall joy from Tiger, who looked like a kid winning again with unabashed exuberance.”—Rob Strano
“I felt emotions way beyond anything I could have expected. I didn’t start playing the game until Tiger hit the stage and he was a huge inspiration. Seeing him close out at Augusta after so many years conjured such awesome memories.”—Jason Sedan
“I was overwhelmed with joy for him and his family. It was a long, hard road for him as a man and an athlete. I selfishly then thought about myself and how privileged I am to be a small part of this great game and teach it.”—Brian Jacobs
“I was thrilled for the world to see the greatest comeback ever, and a real-life demonstration of grit and perseverance.”—Virgil Herring
Did you ever think you’d see Tiger win a major again, especially after all of the surgeries and events of the last several years?
“I surely hoped for it but never expected it. The longer the stretch went, even in moments of brilliance, he never seemed healthy enough, long enough, to climb this high.”—Jason Sedan
“No chance. I thought he was done with how bad his short game was.”—Kyle Morris
“It didn’t seem possible two years ago, but there was always a part of me that hoped and believed he wasn’t completely done.“—Anders Mattson
“I never say never, especially with someone like Tiger. However, with age, injuries and quality of field, I felt the window was certainly more closed than open.”—Jeff Ritter
Can you now see Tiger winning a 16th major or even, perhaps, breaking Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors?
“Using Jack’s 46 as a benchmark, Tiger [at 43 years old] has 15 majors to play. He needs to win one of five, or 20 percent. He won 13 of 35 [37%] early in his career [from 1999-2008]. He is capable of doing that.”—David Ogrin
“Absolutely he will break it! Barring any more injuries, he has six more years, which is 24 more chances. And he has a great chance to win one more this year with the PGA being at Bethpage and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.”—Randy Chang
“Game on! I can definitely see him putting on the green jacket in 2023 for the record-breaker.The only question is how his body will hold up to the demands it will take to earn it. He has the drive, work ethic and ALL of the skills, physical and mental, to make it happen.”—Dom DiJulia
“My hope is that he wins 18. Same as Nicklaus. Then we can forever debate who is the G.O.A.T.!”—Rob Strano
Does Tiger’s latest win change your opinion on the “Who is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time)” debate between him and Jack Nicklaus?
“NO. The G.O.A.T. debate depends on the metrics you use. Tiger is the MOST dominant player ever. Just look at his winning percentage and the margin that he wins by. However, Jack still has the record for most majors. …for now.”—Claude Brousseau
“I give Tiger and Jack dual G.O.A.T. status at this point. It is hard to tell how good Jack would have been with today’s ball, equipment, physical therapies and all of the other technologies available.”—Kirk Jones
“My generation never saw Jack [other than ‘86], so we are certainly biased toward Tiger. I think the competition is far more advanced now than in Jack’s time, so I have to believe that Tiger is in fact the G.O.A.T.”—Anders Mattson
“I grew up watching Jack, so my heart still leans that way. It’s tough to compare. At this point it’s like judging art. Perhaps best enjoyed versus debated.”—Jeff Ritter
Of Tiger’s five Masters wins, which one do you think was the most memorable, and meaningful, for the sport of golf—Sunday’s or 1997?
“I’d say ‘97 was more meaningful because it started the Tiger craze and built up the game so much. This is a nice boost but golf is in a much better place now than it was in ’97.”—Jason Kuiper
“Sunday’s win will be the most memorable for sure because the juniors I coach never saw Tiger in his prime years winning the other 14 majors. Very cool what took place Sunday!”—Craig Bocking
“Sunday’s victory was a clinic in decision-making and mental toughness. It was the best I’ve ever seen.”—Jeff Isler
“Without a doubt, 2019 will make the biggest impact on the game. On Monday morning I already had about a dozen phone calls for golf lessons.”—Sean Lanyi