Golf Asia



Among the many vivid and lasting impression­s that will forever linger from Tiger Woods’ fifth Masters victory in 2019, perhaps one is most significan­t, or at least illuminati­ng. Starting the final day two shots off the 54-hole lead held by then Open champion Francesco Molinari, the now 15-time Major winner made as many as four bogeys in a final round of 70 and yet still managed to see off the best players in the game.

There wasn’t one spectacula­rly memorable shot in the 18 holes Tiger played that Sunday. He just hit a series of really sensible shots. He was understand­ing enough to do that. Think about it. He didn’t take the lead until the 15th on Sunday. On a golf course seemingly ‘made’ for Tiger’s peerless armoury of talents, it was an exercise in patience, strategy and execution from which every one of his rivals could learn.

Perhaps none more so than Rory Mcilroy.

The best example came at the par-3 12th hole in that epic final round. In the wake of three of his closest rivals – Molinari, Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau – finding Rae’s Creek with their tee shots, Tiger played safely to the left of the green, away from the flag and made a routine par. It was the correct shot with the correct club at the correct time. The lesson is obvious and one from which Mcilroy, based on past experience at Augusta National, should take heed. Invariably, Tiger tends to miss in the right spots, from where he has a pretty good chance to still make pars. If anything, that’s what Rory needs to ‘cherry-pick’ from Tiger, who clearly did the same watching Jack Nicklaus. He hung around and waited for others to make mistakes. He won ‘Jack-style’.

If Rory can learn anything from Tiger’s unexpected victory in 2019, and from his four previous Masters victories, it can be boiled down to these three things...

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