The course management displayed by Francesco Molinari at Augusta has to be commended, but he will regret being bold on the dangerous short 12th hole where his double-bogey opened the door for Tiger Woods to win a memorable 15th Major Championship.
I have to say that Tiger Woods’ victory at The Masters was the greatest comeback in golf I have seen in my lifetime. It compares with Ben Hogan’s. For a player who had gone through back and knee operations, and considerable personal turmoil, it was a remarkable performance.
It was an emotional moment for Tiger, and his mother and family, when he put on the Green Jacket for the fifth time and never has a Masters victory been so well deserved.
I never thought he would win another Major but now I would not be at all surprised to see him add another Grand Slam event to his collection of 15 Majors. Maybe he won’t equal Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 Majors but he’ll win a lot more tournaments, and he could come close. If his back holds up, I can see him certainly having a go.
Tiger knows how to win at Augusta National and he used all his course management skills to come from behind on the final day to win in the style of a true champion. He came to Augusta as fit as a fiddle, which showed that his determination to succeed was still with him.
His victory is a huge shot in the arm for golf in particular, and sport in general. Tiger’s popularity has never diminished since his last Major win. He’s always been a box office hit, but now a whole new generation will be taking up the game and the television viewing figures will hopefully soar.
I’m a great fan of Francesco Molinari and I was full of admiration for the way he plotted his way around Augusta. He was a model of consistency throughout the tournament until that fateful 12th hole when he put it in the water. Between hole 11 on day 1 and hole 7 on the final day the Italian didn’t drop a shot, and his run of four birdies in succession from 12 through 15 on Saturday saw him take a two-shot lead into Sunday. However, his tee shot on what is one of the most treacherous short holes in Major championship golf seemed totally out of character. He was on course for a famous victory until then.
I couldn’t understand why he chose to play aggressively when his course management throughout the four rounds had been impeccable. Unless you’re chasing the lead, that is one pin on the back nine that you cannot attack and, as the leader, he should have settled for the middle of the green, taken two putts and walked off with a par. On that hole you have the safety net of the central bunker short of the green, so any short, straight shots fall into the sand rather than the water.
But as his shot was towards the pin and came up short it bounced off the slope and back into the water, leading to a double-bogey. Sensing that this was a turning point in the tournament, Tiger stepped up, hit the green, made par and then played solidly to close it out.
I can’t thank my family, friends and fans enough for their support. Having my family by my side today is something I will never forget. To not only be able to play again, but to be able to win again, is something I will forever be grateful for. This jacket sure is comfortable. pic.twitter.com/LsOUX2dWH1
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 14, 2019
I’m really looking forward to the next three Major championships and following Tiger to see if he really can keep this winning streak going or not.
I had fancied the chances of Ricky Fowler and Rory McIlroy to win The Masters but it wasn’t their week. You need to have every facet of your game firing to contend and they both made a few too many mistakes. I still believe Rory will win The Masters and achieve his much-awaited career Grand Slam.
After all I have said about the importance of good course management and that the emphasis should not be always focused on long drives. But I was indeed pleased to outdrive Jack on the Ceremonial Tee Shot, again. He easily outdrove me during our playing careers, but I attribute my distance off the tee now to my dedication to diet and fitness that’s kept me flexible and in shape.