Why Tiger Woods’ 1997 win was greatest Masters ever

Jack Nicklaus’ improbable win in the 1986 Masters topped The Post’s poll of greatest Masters ever, but Tigers Woods’ 1997 victory was a close second and got the nod as the best from George Willis and Brett Cyrgalis. Here are their thoughts on Woods’ iconic win:

George Willis

The 1997 Masters was my most memorable Masters because it was my first and the first green jacket won by Tiger Woods. Walking on the grounds of Augusta National for the Masters for the first time is a unique experience, even for someone who has covered Super Bowls, Worlds Series, the NBA Finals and other major golf tournaments.

Two things stand out about that week. A downpour on Wednesday afternoon chased everybody off the course, but once the rain ended, Woods went out to finish his practice round. There wasn’t a soul on the course except Woods and his caddie. It was probably the last time I’ve had an unobstructed view of Woods, now a 15-time major winner.

His round on Saturday was simply spectacular, a 7-under 65 that gave him a nine-shot lead going into the final round. His victory at age 21 ushered in a new era in golf and broke down some old stereotypes. It remains the most meaningful victory in golf history.

Brett Cyrgalis

When Tiger Woods threw an uppercut into the air after making his final putt at the 1997 Masters, the entire golf world changed.

Not only did Woods become the most dominant figure in the game over the next two-plus decades, but he also changed the way golf was played, the way it was practiced, and the way it was perceived by the public. Along with all of that, the business of the game also changed drastically, with purses increasing tenfold.

The golf itself was a sight to behold. He was the longest hitter in the field — by 25 yards. He never three-putted. He never hit more than 7-iron into any par 4. He was the youngest Masters champion at 21 years old, and he won by the biggest margin in major championship history, 12 shots.

It was more than good. It was groundbreaking. The golf world would never be the same.

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