Anything that Tiger Woods did on the course this year is of interest but to hear that he was on the clock at The Masters, in his condition, is something else. Jon Rahm was paired with Woods at Augusta in the fifth group out but that didn’t stop the authorities trying to speed things up – it’s worth a reminder that the last time a player was penalised for slow play was in 2013 when 14-year-old Guan Tianlang was hit with a one-stroke penalty.
Not that Tiger deserves any special favours but you might argue that he deserves a bit of leeway given the condition of his body and state of his right leg.
“I think the fact that we got put on the clock on 7 and he was somehow trying to speed up, I was looking at him like – we all looked at the official, like he can't walk any faster, let's be honest. Like he was already doing an amazing job trying to move up and down those hills. We all joked around with the official and then when he turned around, Tiger takes off and I'm looking at my caddy, like, well, this is incredible,” Rahm recalled this week at the Hero World Challenge.
“I’m not going to mention how much we had to wait on the second shot on 8 but I think the fact that he actually still tried to speed up that much even though he couldn't really walk.”
Rahm then let us in on what we don’t get to see as viewers, and how much Tiger is really grinding behind the scenes just to get around.
“Then we see the reality afterwards that the cameras don't see. He puts on a bit of a show for the camera, like he's not going to show how much he's really hurting. When we finished scoring, just seeing him stand up and move around that room when there's nobody watching, there's a difference, especially after playing 18 holes and after sitting down when your legs cool off a little bit, it changes.
“It's really inspiring. How many surgeries has he had where he was written off? He was done, he's not playing again, he's not only come back and won tournaments, right? It seems right now that we might be reaching that point but I don't put anything past him. He surprised me before and he surprised a lot of people before. I'm hoping that he can keep playing, he can contend again, especially major championships.”
Maybe at the time not enough was made of Tiger’s achievement in making the cut and then playing all four rounds and for the Spaniard it was a very special final round.
“That Sunday's going to be a fun one to remember. Maybe because of my comments in the past, he was a lot more talkative in that round. I don't know if he was just trying to prove a point to me or not but he was a little bit more talkative and he shared a lot of great stories, a lot of personal stories. I asked a little bit about golf and parenting and he was very respectful, he was very open about it. It was great, it will be a round I remember for a long time.”