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Golf’s Hamlet Without The Prince

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA | Now we know. The man on the radio didn’t. He referred to the Mastersless Tiger. It was a malapropism, but we understood what he meant.
Now we know what the first Masters without Woods was like. We know because we were there in 1995 when he arrived as a pencil-thin, quiet, unassuming amateur and finished tied 41st and we were there this year after he had withdrawn. Though he had missed at least one of each of the other major championships, this was his first absence from The Masters.
Again and again last week the memory went back to 1997 when Woods stunned the world of golf with a runaway victory to become the 61st Masters champion. The Times (of London) carried the following headline on April 15, 1997:
headline
on April 15, 1997:
“Golf wakes to the dawn of the Tiger era” and beneath it the subheading: “America hails player whose
mastery transcended a tournament and captivated a nation.”
In the accompanying story, I wrote: “Just after 5 am yesterday fingers of light broke through to brighten the first days of the Tiger era, golf’s sixth since 1896. … Woods … had broken half as many records as he had clubs in his bag and his smile was as wide as his 12-stroke winning margin.”


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