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A Hug, Kiss and British Open Win for Tiger

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Michael Simon/Startraks

First came a hug for his mother, Kultida. Then, a hug and kiss from his wife, Elin. And, finally, during the presentation ceremony at this week’s British Open, Tiger Woods got misty-eyed when he said hello to his ailing father, Earl, watching back home.

The reason for such emotion? Sunday brought the defiant return of Woods at the St. Andrews, Scotland, event, closing with a 2-under 70 to win the British Open for his 10th career major.

Putting an even more impressive spin on the accomplishment, Woods’s win came only two days after Jack Nicklaus bade an emotional farewell to the majors.

Tiger won by five shots, the largest margin in any major since he won by eight at St. Andrews in 2000. This time, Woods, 29, took the lead on the ninth hole of the first round, and no one caught him over the final 63.

As such, he joined Nicklaus as the only players to win the career Grand Slam twice, and Woods’s second major of the year restored a dominance that he was thought to have lost over the past few years.

As for his mother, there was even more reason than his victory to give her a hug. Immediately after last Thursday’s two-minute moment of silence across the UK in memory of those killed and injured during the 7/7 transit bombing in London, Woods told reporters: “I was more thankful than anything else because my mom was in the building right across the street from where the bomb blew up. I was very thankful that my mom is still here.”

Kultida Woods had been touring Europe with friends – but her son had no idea she was so close to one of the explosions, until being told so by his swing coach, Hank Haney.

“She doesn’t tell me anything. That’s kind of how our family is,” Woods said. “If you’re injured or you’re hurt or you’re sick or anything, you don’t tell anyone. You just deal with life and move on.”