Many things had to break correctly for Tiger Woods to win his 15th major championship on Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club, but the one thing within Woods’ control was making sure he was in position to take advantage of whatever breaks may come his way.
After an early birdie on the third hole, Woods bogeyed holes No. 4 and 5 to drop to 1-over par for the day and three shots back of 54-hole leader Francesco Molinari.
Not about to let his man let a golden opportunity slip, Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, got into Tiger’s ear walking off the fifth green, giving Tiger some advice that Woods would later describe as the turning point in his round.
“The talk that Joey and I had off of 5 — I just listened,” Woods said in his champion’s press conference. “He was saying some things that I can’t really repeat here. Then I went into the restroom and proceeded to say the same things over and over to myself, and then came out and I felt a lot better.”
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While Woods didn’t get into the specifics, LaCava was happy to give a little more insight.
“We just talked about never lose the intenseness, but always be loose, know what I mean?” LaCava said, according to Golf.com. “Don’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Not a smell-the-roses-and-enjoy-it kind of thing, just be a little loose. But never lose the intenseness.”
"We did it." pic.twitter.com/RKgSorDpFr
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The pep talk worked, sparking Woods to hit fantastic shots into the next three holes, two of which he birdied to cut the deficit to one heading to the second nine, where his boss eventually caught and passed everyone on the crowded Masters leaderboard.
Always the caddie, however, LaCava was happy to downplay his role in Woods’ return to the top of the golf world.
“I didn’t put in all the hard work. I didn’t have all the surgeries. I wasn’t down in Florida grinding,” LaCava said. “So for me, it’s easy. I just show up, try to do a halfway decent job and he has to do all the tough work.”