Tiger Woods did something he’d never done in 68 previous times playing the par-3 17th hole at The Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. He rinsed not one, but two balls in golf’s most infamous water hazard and made a quadruple-bogey seven to tumble down the leaderboard in the second round of The Players Championship.
Once the questions to Phil Mickelson about his long-sleeve, business attire golf shirt and practice-round pairing with Tiger Woods were handled on Tuesday, the three-time Masters champion, making his 23rd start in the season’s first major, was asked whether this was the most anticipated Masters — maybe ever.
At the Arnold Palmer Invitational, it’s never long before the talk turns to legends. It starts with the tournament’s namesake, Palmer, segues to eight-time API winner Tiger Woods, and Sunday night moved onto another legend, albeit one we hadn’t heard from for a while.
The PGA Championship is the final major of the year. Those 10 words will be bouncing around Rory McIlroy’s head in stereo. It has not been the year Rory expected but you have to play the ball as it lies, and despite a disappointing 2017, there is now cause for optimism.
The first thing you notice about the 2017 Open champion is that not much is really noticeable. Jordan Spieth is tall, but not too tall. And he’s a fresh-faced, good-looking lad. But Hollywood probably wouldn’t give him a second glance.
Rory McIlroy might have the memory of an elephant, but it’s the golf game and the dominance of Tiger Woods at his peak that he seeks as he bids to get back to the top of the world rankings and start winning majors again.
If the media drives sport and most of the money generated comes from TV broadcasting rights then it’s hardly surprising that professional sport worldwide has always been a star-driven enterprise dominated by the world’s greatest athletes.