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Tiger Woods falls short in miraculous Masters comeback as Scheffler takes title 

It has been more than 13 months since the golf legend crashed his car in a near-fatal accident in Southern California.
Image: *** BESTPIX *** The Masters - Final Round
Tiger Woods tips his hat to the crowd on the 18th green Sunday after he finishes the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

Golf legend Tiger Woods shot a 6-over-par round of 78 on Sunday at the Masters to finish far down the leaderboard and cap a weekend when numbers hardly mattered to fans.

He finished at 13 over for the week, his total of 301 by far his worst at the Masters and one shot off his worst 72-hole score ever as a professional.

Scottie Scheffler, 25, won the day — and the storied green jacket — with a final-round 71. He held off a furious rally by Rory McIlroy, who shot an 8-under-par 64 on Sunday, falling just short of the leader Scheffler.

Woods' 47th-place finish belied the thunderous applause he received as he walked up the 18th fairway at Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia. Woods, in a red shirt synonymous with his final-round charges, removed his cap and acknowledged the roars.

"Thankful, as I alluded to. I keep saying it, but I am. I really am. I truly am. Just to get to this point," Woods told reporters afterward.

"Just to be able to play, and not only just to play, but I put up a good first round. I got myself there. I don’t quite have the endurance that I would like to have had, but as of a few weeks ago, didn’t even know if I was going to play in this event."

This was Woods’ comeback tournament, a little more than a year after the car crash that nearly cost him his right leg, or worse. He said coming into the Masters that just getting back was an accomplishment.

Woods was limping throughout his final round, and the limp seemed much worse Sunday than it had been earlier in the tournament.

Just making the cut and getting through four days on the most famed course in America was its own victory for Woods.

Asked whether this weekend’s play marked one of his greatest achievements, Woods said: “For not winning an event, yes. Yes, without a doubt.

“To go from where I was to get to this point, I’ve had an incredible team that has helped me get to this point,” he added.

Woods’ mere presence at Augusta was a boost for the sport, which has been looking for its next attention-grabbing, crossover hit to fill the star void — left by Woods himself.

He last played a competitive individual round of golf at the 2020 Masters, held in November that year instead of its normal spring tee-off because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Asked about his favorite memory of the weekend, two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson said: "Memory, gosh. Truthfully, it’s the inspiration of Tiger.

"Tiger — forget score. I don’t care. He might not say that to the media, but forget score, right? It’s pretty inspirational," Watson added after he finished tied for 38th.

"Ten-year anniversary of my win, but watching him walk, gosh, I cry on a paper cut. For him to be able to walk and make the cut is pretty spectacular."

Woods, 46, did swing a club in December at the PNC Championship, a 36-hole father-son competition in Florida where he and 13-year-old Charlie Woods finished second to the team of John Daly and John Daly II.

Woods’ playing in a major event like the Masters seemed impossible last year after a wipeout Feb. 23 on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County.

He rolled a Genesis GV80 near Hawthorne Boulevard at Blackhorse Road, on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, officials said.

No one was hurt other than Woods, who suffered significant injuries to both legs.

There were no signs of impairment, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies at the scene said, although a blood test was never taken.

He was driving more than 80 mph, nearly double the posted 45 mph speed limit, officials said. Woods was still going 75 mph when he hit the tree as the SUV went airborne.

Although the SUV's front end was almost totally smashed apart, much of the driver's compartment remained intact, and Woods was wearing a seat belt.

A deputy said at the time that it was "very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive."

The crash was deemed to have been caused by “driving at a speed unsafe for the road conditions and the inability to negotiate the curve of the roadway," and no charges were filed.

Woods has acknowledged that he will never play full-time on the PGA Tour again.

He has 82 tournament titles, tied for most in PGA Tour history with Sam Snead. Throughout much of his storied career, it was considered a slam dunk that Woods would someday overtake Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles.

But in recent years, age, injuries and off-the-course issues have slowed Woods, whose name is usually mentioned at the top of any sentences — along with Nicklaus and Ben Hogan — debating who is the sport's greatest player.

His storied career has drawn comparisons to Jackie Robinson, who broke major-league baseball's color barrier, and fueled hopes that golf can attract a more diverse player pool.