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Posted April 14, 2019 07:04 pm
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Woods' peers impressed by his comeback win

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    Justin Thomas high fives Phil Mickelson after Thomas shot a hole-in-one on the 16th hole during the final round of the Masters Tournament. [ALLEN EYESTONE/FOR THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Trevor Immelman is old enough to remember playing against Tiger Woods when he was at the peak of his powers.

Two years ago, though, the 2008 Masters winner had his doubts if Woods would ever win again, much less a major.

Woods did just that Sunday, capturing his fifth Masters victory with a one-shot victory over Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka.

“After surgeries and everything else that happened, it was the first time I’d ever seen him uncertain,” Immelman said. “That’s a word I would have never used with Tiger Woods. To see him dig himself from that moment to here, it’s special for this game, special for this club, and this is awesome.”

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Woods dominated the game from his 1997 Masters win through his 2008 U.S. Open triumph, totaling 14 majors and threatening to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.

“It’s a very interesting time because when I was coming through the ranks and he’s maybe at the height of his game,” Immelman said. “You always got the feeling that he knew he was the best, you knew he was the best and it’s just the way it was.”

Then a personal scandal led to divorce, and Woods also endured setbacks because of injuries. He was winless on the PGA Tour from 2013 until last September, when he won the Tour Championship.

Woods still hadn’t won a major since his playoff win at Torrey Pines, but last year he was in contention in the final two at the British Open and PGA Championship.

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With his win Sunday, the debate on whether Woods can catch Nicklaus has renewed. And his peers weren’t shy in letting their feelings be known about his latest win.

“I can’t think of a better comeback in my lifetime,” 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson said.

Bernhard Langer, a two-time Masters winner, could see it coming with the way he had been playing in the past 18 months.

“Quite a comeback story after all he’s been through,” Langer said. “We all know he’s capable.”

Justin Thomas, who plays with Woods frequently in the Jupiter, Fla., area, said the win was “cool.”

“The game is hard to get in a much better place than it is now, but it somehow did,” Thomas said.

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