ONE of the most iconic sights in sport in the 1990s was a triumphant Tiger Woods marching up the 18th fairway having blown away all-comers.
He always wore a red Nike polo shirt and usually had several shots in hand.
It’s five years since the Big Cat purred in the winner’s circle but the former world No.1 is back on the prowl after successful back surgery cured his chronic pain and lack of movement.
He’s no swinging defective any more and a second-placed finish in the Valspar Championship sparked panic among the bookies.
Woods’s Major wins have stalled on 14 but he’ll head to Augusta next month believing he can lift a fifth Masters – and you can never have enough Green Jackets in your wardrobe.
He loves Augusta (who doesn’t) but at a best 10-1 with Ladbrokes it would take a lot of faith to back him when you consider he was 100-1 a few weeks ago.
His price has crashed after a he followed a second-place finish in the Valspar Championship with fifth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
At one point on Sunday he was outright favourite for Augusta but then dropped three shots in two holes as Rory McIlroy launched a birdie blitz to storm to glory.
Coral spokesman Harry Aitkenhead said: “We’ve taken a lot of bets over the last week or so on Tiger. He was 33-1 before his second at the Valspar and after tying for fifth at Bay Hill he’s gone from 14-1 to 9-1 second favourite. He’d be a hugely popular winner for golf fans and punters alike but not for bookmakers,”
If McIlroy plays as he did on Sunday he'll take some stopping and he looks to have his A game back.
But the Irishman is yet to conquer Augusta – it's all he needs for a career Grand Slam – while Woods has 13 top-10 finishes but has played just once since 2013.
I followed him round that year and it was an incredible experience even though I knew he couldn’t catch Jordan Spieth.
I'd love to see Rory or Justin Rose win but if Tiger’s the man being hailed on the last I’ll be applauding like everyone else.