Welcome back to the Tiger Woods YouTube Project, where we’ve made it to what is generally considered to be the greatest shot of Woods’ career. Of his career!
Here’s the thing about The Chip. It happened in April 2005. YouTube was founded in February 2005; it took off several months later. The Chip was timed perfectly to live on YouTube forever. If we’re talking about Tiger Woods and we’re talking about YouTube (We are! That’s why we’re here!) then it’s impossible not to talk about The Chip.
Tiger Woods YouTube Project, Chapter 22: The Chip
Chapter 21: Tiger’s headcover
The thing is, you’ve already seen The Chip. You’ve seen it every April for the past 15 years, at the very least. We’re hardly breaking any new ground there. You already know what happened next — Woods won his fourth Masters. So let’s not bother to fully contextualize it. Let’s just watch it again, more carefully this time, and see what it is that we notice.
1. Verne called it.
Woods was hardly the only one to hole out on 16 that Sunday. If you rewatch the broadcast you’ll recall that just minutes before Woods and Chris DiMarco strode onto the 16th Trevor Immelman made an ace. That led to a particularly prophetic line from Verne Lundquist:
“Well, if form holds, either DiMarco or Woods will hole out when they get to 16.”
You know the rest. Yeah, sure, Lundquist was probably talking about another hole-in-one, but we’ll still give him credit for the most famous hole-out of the modern era.
2. The rough behind that ball was serious.
The shock value of this chip comes from the visuals; the far-left starting line, the slow trickle, the perfect Swoosh pause at the edge of the cup. But what about that lie?! I didn’t even think the rough at Augusta got that long. The ball sitting on the fairway up against the edge of that rough made this shot what it was.
3. He hit this thing low!
Here’s part two of this brilliance. Were it not for his lie, Woods would hit this high and soft with some spin. But the way he skips it up along the slope ups the degree of difficulty (and the artsiness required) to the next level.
4. What’s up with this guy’s hat?
Are those his credentials on top of his bucket hat? What’s going on there? Masters tickets from over the years? Is this a thing?
5. Take out the tree and he would have had the perfect view.
Imagine you’ve secured a ticket to Sunday at the Masters, Tiger Woods is leading, you’ve been posted up by No. 16 for hours and finally Woods hits his ball long and left, directly in front of you — only for your view to be completely blocked out by a tree. But kudos to the good folks involved in getting him a proper view of the action. Smiles all around.
6. Did these three have money on DiMarco or what?
Woods’ ball falling brought the entire crowd roaring to its feet — except these three fellas in the front row. DiMarco’s uncles, maybe?
7. Did these two have money on Tiger?
On the other hand, the gentlemen in yellow and pink stood out as the most jubilant among a jubilant crowd.
8. Stevie took a bow!
As Woods and caddie Steve Williams stood together as DiMarco putted out, Williams took a mini-bow. Whether it was to someone he saw in the stands, someone he’d spotted in the camera tower, a walking media member — who knows? He doffed his cap, caught up in the exaltation of the moment. Pretty funny.
DiMarco hit a good putt, for the record. It just breaks a lot.
9. DiMarco enjoyed the chip, too.
Okay, that’s not necessarily right. But whether DiMarco wanted to compliment his foe or just felt he had to say something, it was interesting to watch that dynamic play out. DiMarco was sizing up his putt from behind the hole as Woods was fishing his from the cup.
“Good shot,” DiMarco told Woods.
10. DiMarco was 7 shots clear of the field.
Even with what happened after The Chip — DiMarco’s missed birdie try, and Woods’ bogeys at 17 and 18, and his birdie in the playoff — consider that he finished at 12 under. Luke Donald and Retief Goosen were next at five under. Imagine a Woods-less world in which Chris DiMarco was the Masters champion by seven shots.