Tiger Woods came to Augusta in 2001 with a chance to become the first man since Bobby Jones to hold all four majors at once. He would capitalize on that chance.
Editor's note: In anticipation of the 2018 Masters, we're counting down the best moments from the last 20 years at Augusta. Checking in at No. 7 was Louis Oosthuizen's albatross from the 2012 final round.
It's hard to imagine a player coming into a golf tournament as a bigger favorite than Tiger Woods was at the 2001 Masters.
Woods, then 25 years old and at the height of his powers, had won the last three major championships. One of those majors, the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, he won by 15. He'd also won both of his starts immediately preceding Augusta, at Bay Hill and The Players.
As crazy as it sounds, most expected Tiger to win The Masters and join Bobby Jones as the only golfers to ever hold all four major championships at one time. He was just that far ahead of everybody else.(Jones' feat came in a different era entirely, and two of the majors he won were the British Amateur and the U.S. Amateur. But we'll save a discussion on the merits of Jones' feats for another time.)
Woods quest for glory started with a tepid two-under 70 that left him five shots back, but he played his way into contention with a 66 on Friday. A third-round 68 gave Tiger a one-shot lead and set up a dream final pairing with Phil Mickelson, who at the time still hadn't won a major championship.
Woods' biggest challenge on that Sunday came from David Duval. The former World No. 1 turned in 31 and birdied 10 to tie the lead at -14. Never flustered, Tiger rebounded from a bogey at 1 to play a steady round, and a birdie at 15 gave him a one-shot advantage. After Duval missed a five-footer for birdie on 18 that would have tied Woods at -15, Tiger came to the last needing just a par to secure the Tiger Slam (so named because he did not win all four majors in the same calendar year for a "true" Grand Slam). In true Tiger fashion, he made birdie.
Watch him play 18 below, and look at the sheer determination in that young man's eyes. He 100% realizes the gravity of the situation.
If you're searching for a moment when Tiger was at his absolute peak, it might be right there on that 18th green. Winner of four straight majors and three straight tournaments, the number one player in the world by a comically large margin and arguably the biggest sports celebrity on the planet.
Also, if the 18th hole appears in that video to be a little different, that's because it was. You'll notice that Tiger had no issues with that familiar bunker left of the fairway, and that he had just 73 yards in for his approach. After that year's tournament, Augusta underwent serious construction to add length, part of a larger effort within the game of golf to "Tiger-proof" courses. Part of those changes at Augusta included adding 55-60 yards to the 18th.
Tiger won The Masters again the next year, just for good measure.