Gimme Golf Style

‘The comeback king’, Tiger Woods is set to tee off tomorrow at Augusta National. Even if he doesn’t make the cut, it is still one of the great sporting stories. The professional game reaps newsworthy tales, but plenty have surfaced from old Hollywood.
Tiger Woods, 1997. (Photo courtesy of Alamy)

The complexities of the subterranean labyrinth that scientifically and often invisibly controls the pristine, firm, crisp and lush-green appearance of championship standard putting greens, doesn’t get more elaborate than at Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia. the world’s most exclusive golf club. An automated underworld of vast piping networks and mechanical blowers otherwise known as ‘The SubAir System’ helps drain and ventilate the putting greens. When the system’s fans blow one way, they provide air to the densely seeded bent grass of the putting surface. This promotes growth. When the fans are reversed, they create a suction effect, and percolate water from the greens. This promotes firmness. Astutely mitigating the forces of nature in this way compellingly tests the skills of the best professional golfers from around world who are invited to take part in the first major championship of the year, The Masters.

Suffering life-threatening injuries in a high-speed car crash on the outskirts of Los Angeles, 14 months ago, it would have been incomprehensible to suggest that five-time winner Tiger Woods would play golf again, let alone compete in this week’s Masters. “As of right now, I am going to play”, said Woods in a news conference on Tuesday. Not only did he all but confirm his participation, but he said: “I have been in worse positions and won”. He did after all comeback to claim a fifth green jacket in 2019, more than a decade after winning his 14th major, in which time the tribulations of multiple surgeries hinted at retirement. But as former US president Barack Obama said on Twitter right after the crash: “The GOAT of golf. If we learned anything over the years, it’s to never count Tiger out.” Regardless of his misdemeanours off the course, there is no doubt when Woods steps out onto the first tee at Augusta on Thursday, the roar of Tiger, might be the most deafening he’s ever heard.


    Freddie Anderson


    April 2022


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