A HOST of golf’s biggest names will finally get to blow the dust off their balls as the PGA Tour gets back to business for the first time in three months when the Charles Schwab Challenge tees off in Texas today.
The world’s five highest-ranked players will be in contention for a share of a wallet-busting £6million prize purse but, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson will be playing to empty galleries as the Colonial Country Club is closed to fans.
Sadly, this means we will have to do without cries of ‘mashed potato’ or ‘get in the hole’ to enhance our enjoyment — although, Sky Golf, our hosts for the event [from 12.45pm], might offer a ‘moronic crowd noise’ button to fill the void.
Despite such an impressive field, the absence of the player currently ranked 11th in the world, Tiger Woods, will come as a disappointment to many. It appears Tiger failed to book a tee time or whatever players do, for the event so we must wait to see where he pops up next.
In the meantime, fans of this golfing great can take solace in a splendid new documentary which focuses on his remarkable comeback from divorce, injury, arrest and unfortunate mug shots to win last year’s Masters.
Interspersed with archive footage from his earliest days, Tiger Woods: Back [Sky on Demand] returns us to those fateful four days in April last year when the American surprised many at Augusta, including himself, by adding major No.15 to his incredible CV.
Former coach Butch Harmon and Sir Nick Faldo offer insight, as does his late father Earl in a rare clip, and there’s a telling interview conducted before his first tournament as a pro in Milwaukee in 1996 when Curtis Strange asks the young Woods what he’d regard as a successful week.
‘Four solid rounds… a victory would be awfully nice, too’, he replies. ‘That comes across as a little cocky, brash,’ says Strange. ‘Second sucks and third is even worse,’ adds Woods. ‘You’ll learn,’ says Strange, laughing. Instead, for most of the next 20 years, it was Tiger giving the lessons.