Paul Stewart column: Tiger Woods’ Masters win was a privilege to watch
Last Sunday was a feast of sport, with the F1 Chinese Grand Prix in which Lewis Hamilton was victorious, and two Premier League games which saw Liverpool take a giant step towards title success.
I have to admit that, for me, the Masters at Augusta held my attention more than the others.
Tiger Woods’ victory against all the odds was certainly the highlight of a great day’s sport.
Love him or loathe him, one cannot argue that his triumph is up there alongside some of the greatest comebacks in sporting history.
I can’t think of many sportsmen, maybe only Muhammad Ali, that have been through what Tiger has over the last decade and managed to prevail at such a high level within their sport.
I, like so many, thought that Tiger’s invincibility had deserted him after he had dominated – and somewhat revolutionised – the game of golf over the past two decades.
His personal problems and injury issues looked to have taken their toll on him, and with other talent such as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Dustin Johnson – among many others – making their mark in the game, it seemed that Tiger’s time had passed.
Many fans who had long since switched allegiance started to rekindle their love for a golfer who had seemingly lost his touch and struggled with injury.
Francesco Molinari, who played impeccably and led for three-and-a-half rounds started to feel the pressure.
Tiger’s long forgotten stare when he could smell victory returned, almost like his namesake stalking its prey.
You could feel the tension as every drive and putt was scrutinised and the tightness in limbs started to take a grip.
Tiger’s experience became invaluable as he visibly controlled his breathing while the demise in his partners became apparent.
By the time they got to the 18th, there was only one winner.
With two shots in hand, a mistake on his approach to the green was never going to stop him from finishing the job.
I, like most surrounding the 18th green, was elated to see him close out the title and put himself back up alongside the very best sporting icons of his time.
Do I think he will dominate again?
No, probably not. I’m not sure he will emulate his Masters win with another major as there are so many emerging young golfers waiting in the wings.
However, you certainly wouldn’t write him off because if he does smell victory, he is certainly one of the best at going for the throat when he sees the winning post.
It means Woods now has 15 major titles now, three off Jack Nicklaus’ record and, at 42 years of age, I’m sure he will have his eye on that mark.
Whatever happens over the next few years, the fact that he has put the last 10 years behind him and reached the pinnacle of his sport once again will certainly put him up among one of the best sportsmen of all time.
I, for one, am glad that I was able to see him back at the top as golf has missed his final day red attire, his deadly stare, and his mercurial talent for far too long.