AUGUSTA, Georgia – Tiger Woods was out of a door near the National Club Pavilion of Augusta and had turned left towards a tangle of reporters when his close associate, Rob McNamara, had called his name.
"Pay attention to these security guards," McNamara said.
Help laughed. Woods laughed. Tiger would try to downplay the surrealist scene at the 14th hole of the second round of the Masters, where an overheated special agent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations would have almost brought out the most special golfer on the planet. But the spectacular return of Tiger, which lasted all year, could have crushed and burned on the spot. Woods could have lost his shot at a fifth green jacket and his chance to win his first major championship for over a decade, as a man who was trying to protect him was violating one of the many cardinal rules of Augusta National : Running was forbidden.
You can stay in Augusta. You can sit in Augusta. You can even walk to Augusta. But all those who have already crossed these forbidden gates and entered this monument of the 1950s know that you can never run to Augusta. Believe me, I discovered the difficult path that covered my first Masters many years ago. My slow clubhouse jog at media center was interrupted by a security guard who extended his right hand open and shouted to stop.
Stop what? I said, more than a little confused. "Stop running," he barked. "Or you'll be out of the tournament."
He did not add "For guard," but he did not have to do it. For the next 19 Masters I've covered, including this one, I've never even thought about running as this security officer (of all people) did on Friday when I was there. 39 he thought that he was protecting the GOAT from a herd of invading humans soaked in rain. .
Here 's how it happened: Woods hit the kind of shot that earned him 14 major tournaments, a shot of the left – wing trees that only a real artist could imagine in his mind, and when his divot went out. flew to a TV camera, starstruck fans began to close hard for him. Apparently, fearing that someone will come into contact with Woods, or even shoot him with one of the many green and white umbrellas in the crowd, the officer whistled in front of Woods' caddy, Joe LaCava. , and spun to the back of the player.
When he realized that he was about to hit Woods, the special agent pulled on the brakes of the hairless and muddy grass and cut off the golfer as he passed through. slippery, much like what Ty Cobb had done when he was trying to break a double game and, more specifically, breaks the second-baseman's leg. Although it appears that the officer hit Tiger's right ankle, Woods later stated that he had felt the contact with his right knee.
Tiger started jumping on his left leg, using his club to balance while he grimaced in pain. If his foot had been firmly planted when the officer hit him – he seemed slightly in contact with the ground – Woods could have been seriously injured. He might have been forced to write a sequel to the epic that he wrote in 2008, when he won the American Open on a broken leg.
Instead, Woods found his foot, rubbed it with dirt (or mud) and drained the long roll that drew him to 5 cents and inspired a hand pump borrowed from his apogee.
Tiger Woods draws a second round 68 and is tied for second at 6 under the start of the weekend at The Masters.
"Everything is fine," Woods said later. "Accidents happen, galleries have invaded, it's just, you know, when you play in front of a lot of people, things happen."
No golfer has ever played in front of more people or done more things than Tiger Woods. So he followed his absurd birdie to the 14th with another absurd birdie on the 15th to move one shot out of the head. Woods had missed short birdie attempts at # 17 and # 18, but those missed opportunities did not diminish the moment. Five men, all big winners, share the lead of 36 holes to less than 7 years (never in the history of golf, more than three major champions shared the lead after any lap), and none of these men did not look at the previous 43 years. old wood as a non-menace.
"There are now three major tournaments in which I'm in the mix," said Tiger, "and so it's good."
It's a country mile better than good. When Woods finished with his 68th shot in the penultimate group, the fans started dropping the 18th green and heading for the outings. The last group, consisting of Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, is over in front of a small reunion of family and friends.
"I know how to play on this golf course," said Woods, who explained that his 22 appearances at the Masters have hardened his confidence. "Now it's a matter of doing it, I still have to go and do it, that's to say Bernhard Langer, 61 and under the tournament." He knows how to play here, as with myself and Phil [Mickelson]. We are on the older side. We understand how to play at this golf course and it is advantageous. "
Tiger Woods assesses his performance in the second round of The Masters and his expectations for the rest of the tournament.
Before Woods met the media, a GBI agent was showing a colleague how she was trying to retain fans before the incident of the 14th. LaCava said that he felt a fan of the officer who slipped in Tiger because he "was just trying to do his job" and because "the guys who work with him will never let him live that."
The truth is that this special agent knew that he had a little luck during his unlucky day. Woods said he was not hurt and responded to the close encounter with birdies back to back.
"Well, he did a birdie, so I guess everything worked," said the officer at Golf.com. "Dude, I'm really glad he made a birdie."
Everyone loved a great golfing history. Woods quickly became the favorite of bets in Vegas, beating 6-1 and for good reason. Golf is often described as an exercise in psychological warfare confronting your demons and your most difficult doubts. On the course, Woods has always had the mental strength of 10 men.
He overcame four back surgeries, including a spinal fusion and a pain that left him bedridden. On Friday, he defeated a policeman who had forgotten you did not have the right to run to Augusta National.
What does not kill you, or cut you off, makes you stronger. Tiger Woods won his 14th major title on one leg. He is quite capable of winning his 15th out of two.