Golf

KC golf legend Tom Watson calls Tiger Woods’ Masters win ‘earthquake for world of golf’

Tiger Woods wins the 2019 Masters in Augusta

Take a look as Tiger Woods celebrates his fifth Masters win on April 14, 2019.
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Take a look as Tiger Woods celebrates his fifth Masters win on April 14, 2019.

Count Tom Watson among those who think golf will get a boost from Tiger Woods’ comeback victory in The Masters on Sunday in Augusta, Georgia.

Woods was the game’s most popular player during his prime, but he was out of the spotlight for a long period before breaking through at the Tour Championship last September for his first PGA Tour win since 2013.

Watson said a lot of folks — not just golf fans — will be talking about Woods, 43, winning The Masters for the first time since 2005 and the fifth time in his career.

“He moves the needle more than anyone,” Watson said in a telephone call with The Star on Sunday evening. “It was an earthquake for the world of golf.”

Watson, a Kansas City native who won the Masters in 1977 and 1981, said he liked what he saw when he had a chance to watch Woods practice earlier in the week.

“I was impressed with the way he was swinging the golf club,” Watson said. “He had it in the right position and was swinging with ease.”

Watson said he noted how Woods talked before the final round about being confident with his putter. Putting with confidence, Watson said, takes pressure off a golfer trying to win.

Another key factor, Watson said, is Woods’ health.

Woods has battled back issues in the past, but Watson said Woods can continue to be successful if he is feeling well. Woods has won 15 major championships, and his win Sunday renewed talk of him reaching Jack Nicklaus’ records of six Masters titles and 18 major championships as a pro.

“The thing is, can he play without pain? Obviously he did it today,” Watson said. “He is in a good position right now.”

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