All eyes are on Tiger Woods today as he makes his first Masters appearance in three years and 12 months after undergoing back fusion surgery.
Yet self-confessed Tiger Woods fan Gary Player says it wouldn’t surprise him to see Woods pick up his fifth green jacket – but says that he should be going for major No.21 this week and not No.15.
“He won the US Open by 15 shots, not five, 15, and the next week he’s getting a lesson," said Player. "I think the reason that Tiger never went on and won more (majors) is because he won the US Open 15 shots, then he’s having lesson, then another from another pro. How good are these guys? Great teachers, yes. But Tiger Woods having a lesson from them? Could these guys break 85 on this golf course? Have they been in this arena?”
Player, 82, spoke at length of the troubles Woods has been through to get to this point, something he said will have made the 14-time major winner stronger.
“The greatest gift you can bestow on yourself is adversity and how you come through it,” said Player.
“We want to see people break records and Tiger was on the verge. But he changed his swing. He was perfection and then he was doing everything that was detrimental to playing well. But, for me, that’s my opinion and I’m not saying I’m 100% right.”
The South African, a three-time Masters champion and the tournament’s first international winner, said golf would welcome a Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy victory, as it would create a buzz about the sport that he says has been missing. “We need Tiger Woods to play well because, when he plays well, the galleries are twice the size. Sponsors love it. We need Rory to win to join us as gran slam player. We need things that will enhance the game.”