Tiger Woods was my idol growing up and the main reason I got into golf.
One of the first tournaments I remember watching was probably Tiger’s first Masters win in 1997, I was about 10 years old and watched on the BBC at the time. Then, every weekend when I was a teenager and Tiger was playing, I’d sit in front of the TV on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, watching him.
I’d watch him at night and then go out and play the next day, imagining I was Tiger having a putt on the last to win the Masters!
I remember even trying to swing the club like him – trying to do the different finishes that he does and stuff like that.
It’s funny though, I’ve never even met him properly.
I never had the balls to go up, say hello and ask him for a picture or anything.
Hopefully, I get a knock at him in the near future and we get the right time to do it!
It’ll happen when it happens.
Jack’s the lad but Tiger can catch him
It’s phenomenal what Tiger did at the weekend – the whole world was probably rooting for him. I certainly was. I was going to stay on until Monday. I’d said if Tiger was winning, I would go up to the clubhouse to try and watch it there.
But with the storms forecast we drove down from Augusta on Sunday afternoon to Harbour Town (for this week’s RBC Heritage Tournament) and I listened to the back nine in the car. I never thought golf could be so exciting to listen to on the radio, but it was!
It would have been thrilling to have been there on the 18th but I wasn’t, so…
Tiger, for sure, could beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 Major wins. He’s won 15 Majors now and the three remaining Majors this season, come up thick and fast.
It’s going to be incredible, with the USPGA Championship at Bethpage next month (May 16-19) and the US Open at Pebble Beach from June 13-16. Tiger’s won at both before. The Open Championship is at Royal Portrush (July 18-21) and not many have played there, so it will be new for everyone.
But look, it’s Tiger Woods, he can do anything.
I’d been asked loads of times over the last few years whether Tiger would ever win another Major. I’ve always said he would. I had no doubt and even if you talk to the likes of Rory McIlroy or any of the other top guys, they’ll say he’s still probably the best iron player in the world at the minute.
I don’t think anyone at the top of the game was really that surprised he won.
A lot of the pundits may have thought so, but not so much those who’ve been playing with him or seen him on the range in the last year or so.
I certainly believe that he is the greatest player that has ever played the game and Sunday proved that.
The top players in world golf have made it as strong as it’s ever been and you just need to look at last Sunday’s leaderboard to realise that.
Everybody was just chasing him down. There was no fluke about his fifth Masters win, whatsoever. He played the course. He played the back nine perfectly and just played it safe. His course management was excellent, and a lot of people forget that he had an Open Championship pretty much in the bag, until he went astray was it down the 16th last year.
Tiger was more familiar with Augusta than Carnoustie and knew that if he could birdie 13 and 15, and then throw one more birdie at it – he could win. And that’s exactly what he did.
The outpouring of emotion afterwards was great. There was a lot of relief involved.
Obviously, it was amazing for him to have his family there. As he said, his kids didn’t really know what he was like or how good he was in the day, so it was amazing for him – and them – to be able to see that.
It’s huge for the game in golf in general. You only have to look at social media, where everybody who is anybody was tweeting or putting out Instagram posts about it. That’s how big it is.
I spoke to one of the head guys in NBC – the TV channel that does the golf in the States – a few weeks ago and he was saying that when Tiger plays, there’s maybe 50 to 100 per cent more people watching golf. That says it all.
I was obviously very disappointed with my game at Augusta, but I’d prepared as well as I ever have for a big any tournament. It was just one of those things. It’s sport, and when it doesn’t happen – just doesn’t happen. But, I’m still optimistic about how I played last week. I just need to find something internally, mentally, that’ll make me a little bit better.
When I was completely out of the tournament on Friday, I played great golf on the back nine. I just need to look at playing golf more freely, and not sort of worrying about the outcome or the results. Internally and mentally though, I need to let myself do that.
The last eight holes were as good as I’ve played all year, so that’s kind of the way I have to look at it. I feel like I have all the shots and I have what it takes.