Woods has changed, too.
His victory eight years ago produced more raw emotion than ever for Woods. It was his first major since the death of his father, Earl, two months earlier. He sobbed on the shoulders of his caddie and then his wife. Woods now has a different caddie and he is divorced.
“My life has certainly changed a lot since then,” Woods said. “That was a very emotional week. As you all know, I pressed pretty hard at Augusta that year, trying to win it, because it was the last time my dad was ever going to see me play a major championship. And then I didn’t play well at the (U.S.) Open — missed the cut there miserably. And then came here and just felt at peace. I really, really played well. On Sunday, I really felt calm out there.
“It was surreal at the time. I’ve had a few moments like that in majors where I’ve felt that way on a Sunday. And that was certainly one of them.”
The others were at the 1997 Masters, which he won by 12 shots; the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, which he won by 15 shots; and 2000 British Open at St. Andrews, which he won by eight shots to complete the career Grand Slam.
Woods has won the career slam twice more since then, running his total to 14 majors by winning the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008 despite not having played in two months because of torn ligaments in his left knee and a double stress fracture in his left leg.
He said that victory, with the odds against him, should be a reminder not to count him out.
And he’s not ruling out his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus and his 18 majors. Woods, who is 38, was asked if he would play well into his 40s and even his early 50s if it meant a chance to break the Nicklaus benchmark.
“Hopefully, I have it done by then. But I’m really looking forward to that cart,” he said, referring to Champions Tour players being allowed to ride in a cart.