We have a lot to be thankful to Tiger Woods for.

Not least for what seems like the weekly discussion of who’s the best, who’s in the Big 3, or is it now the Big 5?

For the best part of a decade there were no such questions.


Last year we were merely debating which of Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy or Jason Day would win. Then none of them did, though one of them should.

This year we have bounced around from Justin Thomas to Hideki Matsuyama, back to Spieth and then we got a new No. 1 in Dustin Johnson.

We’ve hardly seen our old No. 1 this season – Day, if he does decide to play, will arrive at Augusta best described as ‘lightly raced’. The same is true of McIlroy, whose most talked-about round this year was with a 70-year-old man with both questionable ethics and hairstyle.

Who knows, it might just pay off. Since he won the Open in 2014 one of the game’s big talking points is how and when McIlroy will complete the Grand Slam.

He’s admitted that every year he’s tried something different in the run up to April’s first Thursday. The last time he broke 70 over either of the first two days was 2012.

He’s admitted that he struggles to play freely and that he hasn’t hit the shots when needed. It’s just a matter of time though, isn’t it?

As for Spieth, he is yet to finish outside the top two at Augusta. Yet he will face some demanding questions, chief among them how on earth he lost a five-shot lead with nine holes to play last year.

Augusta National

He won’t get a chance to relate how it felt to lead the same tournament for the previous seven rounds. Rather how he fatted a wedge from the drop zone on the 12th so badly that it barely reached the creek.
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The good news is that he’s been back to the scene of the crime, and birdied it twice.

“Guys, we have some demons to get rid of, I’d appreciate if y’all stood to the side of the tee box while I do my work. I was walking around with my hands up, like ‘demon’s gone.’”

And then there’s Tiger and his demons. The 41-year-old was supposed to hammer four tournaments in five weeks. He managed a missed cut at Torrey Pines, scene of his one-legged US Open win, and one round in Dubai.

Soon there will be answers, in among the loblolly pines and azaleas. The wait is almost over.