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Masters 2019: Tiger Woods finally provides major moment we've been waiting for

Sporting News logo Sporting News 4/15/2019
a man wearing a red shirt: Tiger Woods © (Getty Images) Tiger Woods

How long were you waiting for that fist pump?

Finally. Tiger Woods gave us that Sunday by winning his fifth Masters tournament at Augusta National.

Woods’ putt at No. 18 finished off a 2-under final round (and a 13-under tournament) in a legendary performance capped with that vintage fist pump. Woods threw his arms in the air in celebration, a moment that we had been waiting all day, all weekend, all decade for.

MORE: Best moments from Tiger Woods' Masters victory

The anticipation for that fist pump only grew as the showdown with Francesco Molinari intensified on the back nine with a line of thunderstorms moving in. Molinari, who had been a par-making machine throughout the tournament, felt the pressure of facing the red-clad Woods on Sunday. We waited for Woods to take over.

Woods was tied for the lead with five holes to go... four holes to go...

Then, on the par-5 No. 15, that moment finally happened. Woods laid his second shot on the green and put the pressure on Molinari, who hit his third shot in the water and finished with a double-bogey. Woods drained a birdie, taking the lead with three holes to go.

Molinari blinked. Woods seized the moment. He had a birdie on No. 16 and closed the door with a par, a bogey and a celebration that was worth waiting for.

There’s nothing like seeing Tiger in contention. We have been waiting for that moment since... when?

Was it 2008? That’s the last time Woods won a major, at the U.S. Open, before his personal life took a turn in 2009 with the fallout from extramarital affairs. He had his entire life exposed. He battled injuries in the long road back to the top. He considered retiring.

Yet Woods played on. He finished in the top five at Augusta three times this decade, but it never felt like this weekend.

WATCH: Tiger shares special moment with son after Masters win

Was it 2005? That was the last time Woods won the Masters, a run highlighted by the incredible chip on No. 16 that rolled in after a pause. Woods took down Chris DiMarco in the playoff that day for his fourth Masters victory.

Was it 2001, or 2002? That was part of a run in which Woods won the Masters in back-to-back years and was at the pinnacle of the sport. Woods shot 16-under in 2001 and 12-under in 2002. Nobody could beat him then, and nobody has dominated like that since.

We remember when that started. This was the closest thing to 1997 — when we were introduced to a 21-year-old with a fist pump and a presence that would revolutionize the sport. Woods finished 18-under that year, a record 12 strokes ahead of the competition.

Woods jumped into our living rooms and prompted us to hit a driving range. His impact on golf was unmatched. There was simply nothing like it.

Until Sunday. It’s the closest thing to Jack Nicklaus in 1986 — maybe even more profound considering the long road back for Woods. Nicklaus still has 18 majors and six Masters championships, but Woods, at 43 years old, has 15 majors and five Masters championships now. What is the green jacket exchange rate? Which moment was better?

We get to have those greatest-ever conversations in earnest again.

MORE: Can Woods really catch Nicklaus?

For those who have been watching the last 22 years, this is the moment we will always point to. Woods’ most dominant moment will be always be 1997, but this will be the most memorable moment of his career. It was every bit as iconic as we thought it would be; right down to the symmetry between his hug with his father Earl then and the one with his son Charlie now.

It’s recency bias, sure, but we can’t remember the old experience of watching Woods win a major. This is the replay we can watch forever in the social media age.

This was the day Woods showed Molinari and everybody else that he is the most intimidating force in golf. It’s that irreplaceable feeling of watching a legend dominate two decades after you first saw his magic on a golf course.

There is nothing quite like the "Tiger Effect," and there’s a short list of athletes all time capable of producing this moment.

This was the fist pump we’ve all been waiting for.

When do we get to see it again?

Related slideshow: Best of the 2019 Masters (Provided by imagn)

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