Sporting highlights: how Tiger Woods’ Masters chip inspired a budding young golfer

The coronavirus crisis halted live sport across the country – but we can still hold on to nostalgic memories which have left a lasting impression. This is the tale of my number one.

Tiger Woods on his way to Masters victory in 2019. Picture by Getty Images
Tiger Woods on his way to Masters victory in 2019. Picture by Getty Images

The 2005 Masters, like so many iterations of the iconic major, was crammed full of moments with the potential to inspire a budding young golfer.

It saw the great Jack Nicklaus emotionally bow out of the tournament he won a record six times – not before rolling back the years by draining a long putt on the spectacle 16th hole (more on that hole soon).

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It was the year my golfing idol David Howell – on account of him hailing from my home town of Swindon, and my old home course, Broome Manor – led the Masters into Saturday after rain stopped play in the second round.

I vaguely recall his father, Ray – who my mum and I sometimes visited at his antiques shop on account of him having a soft spot for our cocker spaniel, Monty – being interviewed on the BBC live from Augusta.

Despite his best-ever Masters finish of tied-11th, Howell didn’t become Swindon’s first green jacket winner, which surely would have topped my list of sporting moments.

Instead it was the man Howell beat down the stretch at the HSBC Champions event a few months later who claimed victory – Tiger Woods.

And his shot on that par-three 16th hole of the final round is the one I’ve replayed on YouTube countless times since.

Sussex Newspapers content editor Oli Poole watches The Masters with his son Albie, 2

It was a chip from a perilous position just off the green, a shot jam-packed with drama, which inspired not only me but his sponsor Nike, which turned it into a TV advert.

From a near-impossible position off the green and his opponent Chris DiMarco in prime position, Woods stalked the scene amid tense silence before sending the ball on its way. Par looked unlikely. Yet the ball trundled down the hill, trickling ever closer to the hole. It looked in, but teetered on the edge for what seemed like an eternity (Nike logo centred according to the ad) before dropping, as the gallery went ballistic.

CBS’s Verne Lundquist’s commentary is embedded in my brain: “Here it comes...Oh, my, goodness...Oh, wow! In your life have you ever seen anything like that?!”

This single shot encapsulated everything I love about sport: tension, theatre and unpredictability.

I am thankful for YouTube. I never saw the moment live. I was instead consigned to bed to listen to the late-night drama on my portable radio.

While the BBC Radio Five Live commentary was undoubtedly superb, the famous commentary has recorded over my original memory.

The clip, viewed once again this week as I watched the official film of the 2005 Masters, is one I hope will one day similarly inspire my now two-year-old son.

He might not have been around in 2005, but I have a great video of him pretending to be asleep in front of the TV as Woods holed the winning putt at the 2019 Masters to mark another special chapter of the greatest golfing story.

It is part of a mini scrapbook of him at key sporting milestones in his early days – surely better than the embarrassing bath shots his mum will be showing his future partner in years to come!

What is your favourite sporting moment? Let us know on Facebook, or by emailing your memory – together with a short explanation of why it is your number one – to [email protected]

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