Overwhelmed with media attention, Tiger Woods deflected scrutiny that he had lost his concentration, that his game had gone south, and tabloid speculation about his personal life, the only way he knew how: by shooting a 67 in the final round at Augusta National.
With up-and-coming star Rory McIlroy sinking as fast as he was rising in the final round, Woods looked every bit the seasoned and calm elder statesman of the sport with 14 Major Championships under his belt, who still has it. Woods showed flashes of his previous dominante self as he found his amongst the leaders in the final day.
Had Woods even had an average putting day, he likely would have won the Masters, and his comeback story may very well have rivaled the memorable 1986 Masters victory by Jack Nicklaus.
Imagine the adulation from golf experts had Woods won. After shooting a 74 in the third round, Woods almost won the title after a fantastic final round. He seemed like he was dead in the water on Saturday, and young McIlroy had passed him by, only to be revived on Sunday, while McIlroy fell off the map.
Now imagine the reaction from the non-golf-fan public. A sports star who seemed like his life was crashing before the world's eyes would have proven to everyone that his spirit couldn't be broken.
A tabloid-hungry public would have ran with past news about his supposed new girlfriend and long-time neighbor, who Woods allegedly has been dating for the past few months.
It would have been another media circus.
But with Woods failing to win, though being in the mix within the dying moments of the final round, he found a way to come out on top.
His fourth-place finish proved he still has it. His new swing is paying dividends, and he has the confidence to be considered a favorite for a futre Major.
The U.S. Open is 66 days away.
Don't think Woods isn't counting down.