Tiger Woods and Sunday red, explained: Why Masters legend wears red shirts in final round


Black hat. Red shirt. Black pants.

Anyone who has watched even a moment of golf since the turn of the century can immediately form a picture in their mind of Tiger Woods in his outfit of choice at the final round of a tournament. The ensemble has helped to set the scene for some of golf’s most iconic moments.

MORE: How to watch Tiger on Sunday at the Masters

When Woods wears his red shirt, he’s often playing for a win. Although that won’t be the case Sunday at the Masters, in this instance it’s a testament to longevity. This is the 23rd Masters since 1997 in which the golf world will see Woods’ signature look during the final round.

Almost all of Woods’ 82 PGA Tour wins have come in a red Nike shirt. That total includes 15 majors, and five of those have been the Masters. How did red become Woods’ preferred look?

What does red represent with Tiger Woods?

A common thought around Woods wearing red is what the color denotes. 

In color psychology, red is associated with many things, most of them aggressive. There is danger. There is strength. There is heat.

Woods projects all of those things (heat in a figurative sense) when he’s near the top of the leaderboard. He has always seemed poised to run away with a tournament or cap off an improbable comeback. Using the color red as an intimidation tactic wouldn’t be out of left field.

That, however, isn’t why Woods wears red for his final rounds.

MORE: Tiger Woods enters rare company with 23rd straight Masters cut made

Why does Tiger Woods wear red during final rounds?

Like so many great athlete traditions, the answer is simpler than it would appear: superstition, borne out of golfing for the Stanford Cardinal.

“I’ve worn red ever since my college days basically, or junior golf days — big events on the last day,” Woods said, per Bunkered.

“I just stuck with it out of superstition, and it worked. I just happened to choose a school that actually was red, and we wore red on our final day of events. So it worked out.”

MORE: Why Mike Trout, Tiger Woods are teaming up to build golf course in New Jersey

There is, however, another reason.

“I wear red on Sundays because my mom thinks that is my power color,” he said. “You know, you should always listen to your mom.”

The mystique around the red cannot be overstated. It’s so prevalent that ESPN created a fascinating visual feature story to highlight not just the red, but the many shades of red in which he has won. As that story notes, Woods has not worn red in three of his wins, although one came in 1996, before he was the most recognizable golfer in the world. The other two were in 2000.

Tiger Woods major wins

Woods’ 15 major wins are the second-most all time. All of them have come with him wearing some shade of red on Sunday (or Monday).

Only Jack Nicklaus, with 18, has more major wins than Woods. It’s hard to imagine the 47-year-old Woods catching Niklaus at this point in his career, but that doesn’t undo Woods’ dominance in the 2000s, nor his 2019 Masters win when he shocked and fascinated the golf world.

Year Age Championship Winning score Margin
1997 21 Masters Tournament 270 (-18) 12 strokes
1999 23 PGA Championship 277 (-11) 1 stroke
2000 24 U.S. Open 272 (-12) 15 strokes
2000 24 The Open Championship 269 (-19) 8 strokes
2000 24 PGA Championship 270 (-18) Playoff
2001 25 Masters Tournament 272 (-16) 2 strokes
2002 26 Masters Tournament 276 (-12)  3 strokes
2002 26 U.S. Open 277 (-3) 3 strokes
2005 29 Masters Tournament  276 (-12) Playoff
2005 29 The Open Championship 274 (-14) 5 strokes
2006 30 The Open Championship 270 (-18) 2 strokes
2006 30 PGA Championship 270 (-18) 5 strokes
2007 31 PGA Championship 272 (-8) 2 strokes
2008 32 U.S. Open 283 (-1) Playoff
2019 43 Masters Tournament 275 (-13) 1 stroke

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