Hello. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Slam, National Club Golfer’s look back on the golfing week.
Sergio Garcia will head into his Masters defence next month as a father. Wife Angela gave birth to a girl on Wednesday and the couple have named her after one of the holes at Augusta National.
No, not Pink Dogwood, or Flowering Crap Apple – I was disappointed too – but Azalea.
Beautiful Azalea Adele Garcia was born on March 14 at 1:54am. So proud and impressed with my wife @TheAngelaAkins and the way she handled the pregnancy and delivery! Love you both so much?? pic.twitter.com/IGu1tV1QlA
— Sergio Garcia (@TheSergioGarcia) March 14, 2018
It’s just another step in Garcia’s fascinating relationship with Augusta National. From 2009 to 2018 he’s gone from “I don’t like it” to “It’s not my favourite place” to winning the Masters to naming his first born after one of its holes.
First tee nerves
The European Tour has released images of how the grandstand surrounding the 1st tee at Le Golf National will look and, as you can see, it’s very impressive.
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) March 8, 2018
Not only that – it’s the biggest ever first-tee grandstand at any Ryder Cup ever, with the European Tour claiming it has 6,500 seats and space for a further 150 standing.
Compare that to Hazeltine’s first-tee stands which held 1,668 spectators and Gleneagles’ capacity of 2,148.
Now, they’ve cheated a little bit because, as you can see, a third of the stand is facing the 18th green rather than the 1st tee – but you can be rest assured every seat will be filled hours before play starts each day.
As someone who was lucky enough to be on the 1st tee each morning at Gleneagles, there is no other atmosphere like it in sport and it’s not something you’re going to want to miss.
Guess who’s back?
Don’t worry, I’m going to talk about Tiger Woods. Actually, let’s do that now…
He’s been named the US captain for next year’s Presidents Cup and will go head to head with Ernie Els.
His first question when asked to take on the role? “Can I also be available to play?”
If he doesn’t qualify automatically, I dare you to be the person who criticises him for picking himself…
On his solo career, as it were, he is back and back in a big way. He’s contended at the Valspar – which saw the competition’s TV ratings better those of the US Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship in recent years – and now he’s FAVOURITE to win The Masters next month.
It’s been a wild ride. And if you try and claim you had Tiger challenging for titles within five starts of his comeback then you sir are a liar.
I actually dozed off on the sofa midway through his opening round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and daydreamed about Tiger and Rory going into Masters Sunday neck-and-neck and five shots clear of the chasing pack.
Imagine that. I reckon I’d actually cry.
Just before coming in to film this, my colleague James Savage asked me who I’d prefer to win out of the two.
I said I think for now I’d like Rory a to get over the line at Augusta, then Tiger can win it another time.
But then I thought about how I would feel when both are retired and if I would be happier with Tiger ending his career with 15 or Rory ending with five. I’m pretty sure it’s the former.
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We dive deep into the golf ball roll back plans!