Tiger Woods was just unveiled as one of the individuals on the annual TIME 100 list — and the honor couldn’t be more deserved, according to his friend Justin Timberlake.
Woods, 43, secured the coveted green jacket for the fifth time at The Masters Tournament on Sunday, marking his fifth Masters win over the course of his career and first major victory in over a decade.
Writing about the golf legend in his excerpt for the TIME 100, Timberlake recalled a 2018 meeting between the duo when they “spent time together, just the two of us, talking about being fathers.” (Woods is dad to son Charlie Axel, 10, and daughter Sam Alexis, 11, while the musician shares 4-year-old son Silas Randall with wife Jessica Biel.)
“We discussed how we want our children to see us and how you balance your dedication to them with competitive drive,” Timberlake wrote. “I told him about how my son, who just turned 4, has started to realize what I do.”
“We bonded over the fact that we wanted our children to watch us at our best,” he continued. “Tiger told me that he hoped his children, who are 11 and 10, would one day see him win a major.”
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“On April 14 in Augusta, Ga., they did just that when Tiger won his 15th career major — and first in 11 years — capping arguably the greatest comeback in sports history,” the singer, 38, praised his athlete pal. “What a dream come true. For Tiger. For all of us.”
Timberlake is, of course, in part describing the moment directly following his final putt, as he left the course after an initial celebration and took a moment to share hugs with both his children.
Woods scored 13 under par at the tournament, besting storied competitors including Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson. It marks his first major win since he placed first in the 2008 U.S. Open.
“All the work he did when people weren’t watching allowed him to hug his children on the same hallowed ground he hugged his father 22 years ago, amid all the adulation, a Masters champion once again,” Timberlake concluded his tribute for the TIME 100, which also includes names like LeBron James, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Taylor Swift.
Following his win, Woods opened up about how “special” it was to have his kids there to witness his triumph after years of injuries and four back surgeries. (He shares his son and daughter with ex-wife Elin Nordegren.)
“It means the world to me. Their love and their support, I just can’t say enough how much that meant to me throughout my struggles when I really just had a hard time moving around,” he told reporters at his winner’s press conference. “Just their infectiousness of happiness; you know, I was going through a tough time physically. There was a lot of times when I really couldn’t move and so that in itself is difficult.”
“But just to have them there, and then now to have them see their Pops win, just like my Pops saw me win here, it’s pretty special,” he added with a smile.
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