McIlroy has plenty of time to reach his goals, as Woods has shown

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial
Share this article

Adecade ago, Tiger Woods seemed a broken figure.

The golfer had been, in the 1990s and early 2000s, one of the all-time sporting greats.

He had racked up truly remarkable statistics, including a total of 14 golfing majors.

But then, in 2009, and aged only 33, Woods seemed mired in difficulties. There were reports about marital strife and about multiple girlfriends.

In an incident that pointed at deep personal trauma, he crashed his car in Florida, had to smash his way out with a golf club, and lost consciousness. He was interviewed by police over that collision.

Woods never seemed to recover. His reputation as a wholesome, all-American sporting hero who had broken through the one-time racial barrier in the United States, was tarnished. Sponsors no longer seemed keen on him. In the years that followed, Woods battled injuries and saw his sporting form plummet. Yet he did not give up. He began to emerge again towards the top of major golfing tournaments. Even so, a return to his old glory days seemed a distant prospect.

Until now. In a sensational comeback, he yesterday collected his 15th major, with a stunning victory at Augusta, in the much prized Masters (see sport). What a return!

It had been predicted that this might be the year of Northern Ireland’s own golfing hero, Rory McIlroy.

The Holywood man performed respectably, but it was not to be. But he is only 30, some 13 years younger than Woods, and more than a decade younger than his friend Darren Clarke was when he picked up the Open.

McIlroy only has to win the Masters to join a select club of men who have won all four golfing majors.

With his steely determination and his long-view approach to personal goals, he surely will achieve that ambition.

If and when he does, it will prompt the sort of outpouring of joy that was on display for Woods yesterday, when total focus and herculean effort turns into deserved triumph.