No golf event in this decade inspired more than Woods ascended to the Masters last week. 22 years ago, no championship created a big fever with the first title of the “Super Tiger” in Augusta. At that time, the 21-year-old had just been a professional for half a year by winning the Blue Shirt with a record score and a record difference with the rest.
In 1997, Tim Finchem had been a PGA Tour member for three years, witnessing a young rookie champion three times after only 15 appearances at the system. Finchem has now retired for three years, having his own Blue Shirt – a member of Augusta National. He was at the Masters all week, before watching the last round of Sunday with millions of people, at a very different perspective.
In 1997, all were eager to see how Woods would show up when he was promoted. The previous 21-year-old boy dominated junior and amateur tournaments, won the US Junior Amateurs and US Amateurs three times in succession.
It took only two months for Woods to win tickets to the Tour Championship after winning twice in the first seven PGA Tour tournaments. Early next year, Woods continued to win the Tournament of Champions. Until April, he had an impressive performance he had never seen before at the Masters.
Now they know too much. 22 years is the time gap between Woods’ first and most recent major championship. A lot of things happened, it made the 15th major title in Augusta last week as much as the first Blue Shirt.
There have also been other important changes in the past 22 years. The track of golf via television surged after Woods’ 1997 championship, and it led to many other changes. In 1997, the total prize money on the PGA Tour was $ 70.7 million. This number increased to $ 135.8 million in just two years, as the system signed a lucrative television contract. This year, the total prize money on the Tour amounted to $ 340 million, not including bonuses at FedEx Cup.