Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Woods wins at last but is Tiger “back” this time round?

Photo
-

“That was a huge win for Tiger Woods today. Our game just got a whole lot more interesting,” scribed world number 11 Dustin Johnson on Twitter on Sunday after his fellow American dominated the field at Bay Hill to clinch the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

This theme is already being discussed just hours after former world number one Woods won his first PGA Tour event since September 2009 after a much publicised fall from grace towards the end of that year and at the beginning of 2010.

Like him or loathe him, there is no doubt the 14-times major champion does wonders for the game of golf. You only had to listen to the raucous crowd chanting his name around the 18th green a few hours ago to appreciate that.

So, will this yield a new era of dominance by Woods? Commentators and experts were abuzz during his final round on Sunday, some saying he is now swinging the club better than when he was winning majors back in the middle of the last decade.

Augusta offers comfort factor but will it be enough for Woods?

Photo
-

GOLF/Tiger Woods returned to competition at last week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in the Arizona desert under increasing pressure to clean up his game and his on-course demeanour.

Although he showed distinct signs of improvement in the latter category, his week ended abruptly when he was eliminated by Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn after 19 holes in the opening round.

Tiger Woods at the U.S. Masters – live

Photo
-

Tiger Woods returned from a five-month absence with a blistering first round at the U.S. Masters and we continue to live blog his bid for another win here. Join us for hole-by-hole coverage, commentary, discussion and on-the-spot analysis from the Augusta National.

Tiger back to face the media — but is it too soon?

Photo
-

GOLF-MASTERS/The eyes of the golfing world will be firmly fixed on Augusta National at 1400 local (1900 GMT) on Monday when four-times champion Tiger Woods faces the media ahead of his highly anticipated return to competition at this week’s U.S. Masters.

It will be the first appearance at a news conference by the disgraced American world number one since his private life unravelled at the end of last year amid revelations he had a string of extra-marital affairs.

Looking back, 2009 Masters will go down as one of the best

Photo
-

Spectators who were fortunate enough to be at Augusta National for the final round of the 2009 U.S. Masters will never forget the experience as the birdie roars returned to the undulating, par-72 layout with a vengeance.

On a sun-kissed spring afternoon in Georgia, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods led the way with a sizzling display of shot-making, charging into contention after starting the last day seven strokes off the lead.

On the Tiger trail at Augusta National

Photo
-

GOLF-MASTERS/

Got a look at Tiger Woods during the second round of the U.S. Masters … sort of.

I saw Woods — at least I was pretty sure it was Woods — slam his opening drive down the middle of the fairway, saw the top of his black baseball cap on his second, caught a glimpse of one of his shoes on his third and saw nothing but heard the roar on his putt to save par.

Japan’s Tiger cub Ishikawa needs breathing space

Photo
-

GOLF-MASTERS/

Picture this: You are one of your country’s biggest celebrities, you have signed a multi-million dollar deal with IMG, teenage girls scream when you walk into a room and you have a media circus tripping over each other to follow your every move — before you’re even old enough to drive.

Japan’s teenage golf sensation Ryo Ishikawa has had major companies knocking down his door since he shot to fame in May, 2007 by becoming the youngest winner on the Japanese tour at 15 years and eight months. The schoolboy won his first tournament as a professional last November after joining the paid ranks at the start of 2008, marking his rookie year by becoming the youngest player to crack the 100 million yen (around $1 million) mark in prize money in a single season.

Which is better — a low-scoring Masters or a gruelling slog?

-

After many leading players — including Tiger, evergreen Gary Player, Greg Norman and Mike Weir — complained that changes to toughen Augusta National had robbed the Masters of birdie and eagle opportunities that had often made Masters Sunday a compelling rollercoaster ride, Thursday’s opening round produced record low scoring.

Perfect weather and easy course set-up combined to help the players fire away at pins and post low scores, an outcome some believe was Augusta National’s response to the criticism.

  •