This was one of the greatest “statement” wins of all time, a win that sent tongues wagging and raised eyebrows beyond just golfing circles. This was Woods’s first major championship, and none of his other 13 victories have been so impressive.
When he showed up in Augusta, Ga., for the 1997 Masters, he was only one year removed from playing intercollegiate golf at Stanford. He started off shakily, playing the first nine holes in four over par before going on a tear over the back nine, carding a six-under-par 30. At the end of four days, he was 18-under-par and had virtually lapped the field. His 12-stroke margin of victory was a tournament record, as was his 270 total – not bad for the youngest player, at 21, to ever win the Masters. And if anybody needed further proof of his dominance they only needed to check the driving stats. Woods averaged 323.1 yards off the tee, a full 23 yards better than anyone else.