Tiger Woods in hospital: Masters magic and emotion at Hoylake – 15-time major winner's greatest moments

By Sports Desk February 23, 2021

Tiger Woods was taken to hospital with "multiple leg injuries" sustained in a car crash in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Woods was the sole occupant of a vehicle which rolled over on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes.

Mark Steinberg – the 15-time major champion's agent – confirmed Woods underwent surgery following the accident.

Woods was already recovering from his latest back surgery ahead of April's Masters, a long-standing issue requiring five procedures in recent years.

The 45-year-old American superstar has enjoyed a remarkable career, winning 82 PGA Tour titles among other honours.

Stats Perform News looks at Woods' greatest moments.


Mastering Augusta

Having turned professional a year earlier, Woods – an already prodigious talent – earned the first of his major titles in sensational fashion at the Masters in 1997.

A record low score of 270 (later matched by Jordan Spieth), the biggest margin of victory at Augusta (12 shots) and the youngest Masters champion. Not bad going for a 21-year-old.


Gutsing it out against Garcia

Two years on and along came another player tipped for golfing superstardom in Sergio Garcia.

A 19-year-old Garcia, who started the final round of the US PGA Championship two shots adrift of Woods and Mike Weir, threatened to derail his rival's hopes of a second major by moving into a one-shot lead.

But Woods, not for the first time, pulled out all the stops – including a stunning escape from behind a tree en route to glory at Medinah.


Making history at Pebble Beach

By 2000, Woods' star was approaching its zenith and at that year's U.S. Open he produced the most dominant performance in major history.

Not only was his 15-stroke margin of victory the largest ever in one of golf's premier strokeplay events, he was the only player that weekend at Pebble Beach to finish under par.


Grand Slam complete

Just a month later and Woods was in dominant form again as he triumphed by eight shots to win The Open at St Andrews.

Of even more significance, the victory saw Woods become the fifth player to achieve the career Grand Slam and, at the age of 24, he was the youngest to do so.


Completing the 'Tiger Slam'

The accolades just kept on rolling and, by the following March, Woods achieved something no other player has done before or since.

By winning the Masters, Woods was in possession of all four major titles. As he did not do so in the same year, it was not recognised as a single-season Grand Slam, thus it became dubbed the 'Tiger Slam'.


That shot at Augusta

By going almost three years without winning one of golf's big four, Woods, by his own remarkable standards, suffered something of a drought during the mid-noughties.

But that changed at a dramatic 2005 Masters. Starting three shots ahead of Chris DiMarco on the Sunday, Woods endured a mixed round but pulled clear with one of the greatest moments in the tournament's illustrious history.

A chip from behind the green began well left of the pin, turned at 90 degrees and rolled towards the hole. Agonisingly, the ball stopped on the edge of the cup before dropping in after what felt like a lifetime.

Woods went on to bogey the next two holes, but eventually triumphed via a play-off.


An emotional Open victory

Woods went through personal tragedy in May 2006 after his father Earl passed away. 

Following the loss of his father, Woods played a reduced schedule but held off a star-studded cast – again including DiMarco – to win by two shots at The Open.

There were tears aplenty, not just from Woods, after the most emotional of victories.


Memorable Mediate battle

The most unlikely of Woods' 15 major victories, at least until this week, came when he somehow won the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines despite being hampered by serious injuries to his left leg.

What is more, Woods even came through a 19-hole play-off with Rocco Mediate, an incredible feat given his lack of fitness. He took the rest of the year off after prevailing.


80 not out

Many, including Woods himself, questioned if he would play again, let alone win again, as he struggled badly with a succession of back injuries in recent years.

Yet you can never write off a competitor like Tiger and he ended a five-year winning drought in style at East Lake, sealing his 80th PGA Tour victory at the 2018 Tour Championship.

 

Five times a Master

If returning to the winner's circle was phenomenal enough, Woods was not finished there.

After contending at the U.S. Open and US PGA Championship in 2018, he sensationally won the Masters for a fifth time on Sunday, coming from behind for the first time in the final round of a major.

Francesco Molinari was two clear with 18 - and seven - to play, but the day belonged to Woods as he triumphed to spark jubilant celebrations.

 

Tiger matches Snead

He secured a record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour crown after winning the Zozo Championship in October 2019.

Woods sealed an historic three-stroke win to draw level with Sam Snead for the most victories on Tour.

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  • From Rule 5 pick to MLB sensation: Rapid rise of history-making Tigers rookie Akil Baddoo From Rule 5 pick to MLB sensation: Rapid rise of history-making Tigers rookie Akil Baddoo

    Akil Baddoo is the name on everyone's lips.

    Baddoo has shattered records from his very first pitch in MLB this month amid an incredible rise from unheralded Rule 5 pick to the biggest sensation in baseball.

    The 22-year-old Detroit Tigers outfielder is already the first player in modern MLB history (dating back to 1901) to hit a grand slam, another home run and a walk-off hit in his first three career games.

    But Baddoo's story is one of perseverance. Let's rewind back to May 2019. He was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery.

    If sitting out the 2019 campaign was not bad enough, he missed last season when the minor leagues were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    During the winter's Rule five draft in December, Baddoo was taken by the Tigers, having initially been drafted out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 2016.

    The Rule 5 draft aims at preventing franchises from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other clubs would be prepared to play them in the major leagues. If chosen, a player must be kept on the selecting team's major league active roster for the entire season.

    "If you think about it, he's gone through so much," Baddoo's mother Akilah said. "And then this opportunity came, and it was like, 'This can't be a joke. There's a plan for you. You got to know that'."

    In the least likely of places, the Tigers appear to have landed a gem, and Baddoo is making the most of his opportunity, immediately becoming a cult hero in Detroit.

    Baddoo had 233 career minor leagues games to his name, but none above Class A as he earned a place on the Opening Day roster after hitting .325 in Spring Training with five home runs. However, the Maryland native looked like a man for the big stage.

    In his opening at-bat on April 4, Baddoo homered in a memorable maiden outing for the Tigers, driving to left field in the bottom of the third inning against the Cleveland Indians.

    "I'm just living in the moment," Baddoo said post-game after becoming the ninth player in Tigers franchise history to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat and only the second to do so on the first pitch, following George Vico in 1948. "I got a good pitch to hit, and I was able to hit it in front of my family and everyone."

    If that was not enough, Baddoo continued the fairy-tale week by hitting his first career grand slam against the Twins the following day. He became the first Tiger to homer in each of his first two MLB games and the first player in major league history to homer out of the ninth spot of the batting order in his first two career games. Baddoo was also the first player in franchise history to hit a slam within his opening two games.

    Baddoo has continually showed maturity beyond his years as the rookie adds to his growing legend. Taking over Motor City, he then delivered a walk-off shot to sink his old team the Twins 24 hours later.

    His game-winning hit saw him become the first Detroit player with a walk-off shot within his first three MLB games since 1998.

    Baddoo is yet to drop off, his history-making season continuing with a homer against the Houston Astros on Tuesday. Through eight games, he took his tally to four home runs, a double and a triple. According to Stats Perform, his slugging percentage at the time – 1.043 – was the highest in American League (AL) history after eight games.

    After his RBI double against the Astros on Wednesday, Baddoo has now driven in at least one run in seven of his first nine career games, the second Tiger in franchise history to do so, following Dale Alexander in 1929.

    Since 1920, only George Shuba (eight) managed more RBIs in his first nine career games across MLB, according to Stats Perform.

    As it stands, Baddoo's slugging percentage stands at .963 (which ranks eighth all-time through first nine career games since 1901) with 11 RBI. If you combine his RBI and SLG percentage, he is one of four players to have 11-plus RBI and a 900-plus SLG over his first nine career games, after Trevor Story (13/.974 – 38/39 in 2016), Taylor Teagarden (12/1.000 – 29/29 in 2008) and Dave Kingman (11/1.105 – 21/19 in 1971).

    Baddoo was rated as Detroit's fifth outfielder before the start of the season, so how does he compare to his team-mates?

    Counting only plate appearances while playing outfielder, Baddoo's .370 average, .379 on-base percentage, .963 SLG, 1.342 OPS, four homers and 11 RBI are more than the team's other outfielders combined –.190 AVG, .277 OBP, .330 SLG, .607 OPS, three home runs and nine RBI.

    As for the team who left their prospect unprotected, Minnesota's outfielders have tallied a .263 AVG, .331 OBS and .474 SLG so far this season – numbers surpassed by Baddoo.

    Baddoo is flying the flag for Rule 5 picks – Roberto Clemente is the only player out of that unheralded draft to earn Hall of Fame honours.

    Following an 18-season career, Clemente – who died in a plane crash at the age of 38 in 1972 – was a 15-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion, 1966 National League (NL) MVP, World Series MVP and 12-time Gold Glove winner.

    Is Baddoo destined for a Hall of Fame career?

    At the same stage of their careers, Baddoo trumps Clemente in all categories: AVG (.370 to .316), OBP (.379 to .325), SLG (.963 to .500), OPS (1.342 to .825), home runs (four to one), RBI (11 to six) and runs (five to three).

    "Obviously he has the talent to do a lot of different things, I knew he'd give me everything he's got," Tigers manager AJ Hinch has said previously. "That was evident from the beginning."

  • Dallas Cowboys: Prescott means progress but defense in dire need Dallas Cowboys: Prescott means progress but defense in dire need

    Dak Prescott's season-ending Week 5 injury ensured 2020 was a wasted year for the Dallas Cowboys.

    Rather than bolster their defense, the Cowboys gave Prescott an exciting new weapon with the 17th overall pick in the NFL Draft last April.

    But wide receiver CeeDee Lamb's impact was diminished after Dallas' quarterback sustained a compound fracture and dislocation of his ankle.

    Without their talisman, the Cowboys stumbled to a 6-10 record, only good enough for third in the poor NFC East.

    However, Prescott is set to return in 2021 and has committed his future to the franchise following a long-awaited breakthrough in contract talks.

    This year's draft also provides the opportunity for a re-do, which should address the key flaws highlighted here with the help of Stats Perform data.

    Offense

    Prescott's lay-off makes an assessment of the Cowboys' offense last year rather tricky, but the team showed enough in his limited time on the field to encourage optimism.

    Dallas finished 17th in the league for total points scored with 24.7 per game, yet this average was 32.6 points across the five games Prescott played. Over the course of the season, the Green Bay Packers led the league with an inferior 31.8 points.

    Likewise, for five weeks, Prescott threw a sensational 371.2 yards per game, the most of any QB in the NFL in 2020. It is an achievement even more impressive when considering he bowed out in the third quarter of his fifth outing.

    To put the Cowboys' miserable results in perspective, backup QB Andy Dalton (197.3 yards per game) ranked 37th. In the NFC East, he outperformed only Philadelphia Eagles rookie Jalen Hurts (70.7 yards per game) among players with 100 attempts.

    Even with Dalton applying the handbrake, Amari Cooper put up 1,114 yards from 92 receptions for five touchdowns. Lamb also had five TDs on 74 catches for 935 yards, while Michael Gallup's own five came from 59 receptions and 843 yards.

    Cooper had contributed eight scores the previous season when paired with Prescott throughout, and Lamb will hope he can similarly profit from the starting QB's return.

    The receiving corps could still be more efficient, however. Lamb dropped 8.1 per cent of the passes sent in his direction, while running back Ezekiel Elliott dropped 8.5 per cent - the Dallas pair ranking third and second-worst among players with 50 or more targets.

    Behind an offensive line also ravaged by injury, Elliott - another former first-round pick on offense - led the way on the ground with 244 carries for 979 yards and six rushing TDs. The Cowboys' 111.8 rushing yards per game ranked 17th.

    So there is still plenty of room for improvement but reason to believe Prescott's return will lift this offense into the upper echelons.

  • Foden stops history repeating for Guardiola and Man City Foden stops history repeating for Guardiola and Man City

    Liverpool, April 2018:

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn't scored for three months since he smashed home a long-range strike against Manchester City.

    Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions elect are back at a bloodthirsty Anfield and Mohamed Salah already has the Reds in front, so why not have a go?

    Oxlade-Chamberlain larrups it beyond Ederson and before the half hour Sadio Mane has made it 3-0.

    There would be no way back for City, who would finish the Premier League season 25 points better off than Liverpool, as they threw caution to the wind in the second leg but lost 2-1.

    Guardiola talked himself into a half-time red card when Leroy Sane had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside before UEFA were using VAR. The competition the Catalan threatened to make his own at the start of the decade had already become a nagging irritation.

     

    London, April 2019:

    After losing three consecutive semi-finals at Bayern Munich, not to mention two out of four on the occasions his Barcelona didn't win it under his leadership, Guardiola is wary of a pressure-cooker Champions League night.

    Embroiled in a titanic title battle with Liverpool, he rests Sane and Kevin De Bruyne and picks an unusually cautious line-up. Nevertheless, VAR intervenes to award them a dubious penalty against Tottenham, granting Sergio Aguero a punt at a priceless away goal.

    Hugo Lloris saves from City's all-time record goals scorer and there will be no away goal as Son Heung-min gives Spurs a 1-0 win thanks to an Ederson mistake

    At the Etihad, all hell breaks loose as the sides trade goals and Aguero puts City 4-2 ahead on the night to lead the tie for the first time. Then Fernando Llorente bundles home and survives a VAR examination for handball. Raheem Sterling has a stoppage-time winner ruled out because replays show Aguero's heel to be offside in the build-up.

    Guardiola crumples to his knees. City are out on away goals to a team that would finish 27 points behind them in the Premier League.

     

    Lisbon, August 2020:

    No away goals to bother City this time, as the pandemic-delayed final stages of the Champions League take place as one-off matches in Lisbon.

    After seeing off 13-time European champions Real Madrid, Guardiola has to reckon with Lyon – a team who finished seventh in Ligue 1 in 2019-20.

    However, one point from two games against the same opponent in the previous season's group stage spooks the City boss into a rarely used 5-3-2.

    They fall behind to a Maxwel Cornet goal, their attack disjointed. De Bruyne, who appears to be fighting a lone hand, equalises but Gabriel Jesus and Sterling miss glorious chances and Ederson is culpable as Moussa Dembele's brace ensures City's biggest European humiliation to date.

    Phil Foden, so impressive in the second leg against Madrid, looks on as an unused substitute.

     

    Dortmund, April 2021

    The last time Guardiola won the Champions League, his present tormentor was seven years old.

    Jude Bellingham's slick footwork and cool 15th-minute finish at Signal Iduna Park is the sort of thing City players do quite a lot but not on these occasions.

    Here was the fear, it was happening again. Everyone just stay calm… no, Kyle Walker, don't shoot from all the way over there in Gelsenkirchen.

    De Bruyne is in no mood for stage fright to kick in and tears at Dortmund, rattling the crossbar. Ruben Dias, unscarred by City's previous failures, is colossal in neutering Erling Haaland. Still, at half-time they are going out.

    The big occasions do strange things to even the most seasoned performers, but Emre Can deciding to break out an elephant impression while heading a cross clear is a new one.

    Handball. Penalty. VAR. Still a penalty.

    Oh God, a penalty. City don't tend to be great at these, as Aguero showed at Tottenham.

    Up steps Riyad Mahrez. Remember the Anfield loss? Well, the next time Guardiola's men visited the red side of Stanley Park, the Algeria winger put one into orbit from 12 yards.

    Not this time. Having fought long and hard to become one of his manager's go-to attackers, Mahrez emphatically clatters home.

    Nerves are dissipating but have never been a problem for Foden. They never are, as he showed with the winner after Dortmund equalised in Manchester last week. He and Bellingham might have a very exciting future together in their national team.

    The boyhood City fan draws back his left boot to send home the decisive blow and makes a beeline for Guardiola in the dugout, grabbing his boss' head. It feels like an exorcism.

    After sharing a post-match chat with the man of the moment, Haaland now towers in Foden's rear-view mirror. PSG and Kylian Mbappe are up next. Foden arguably belongs in their conversation, as an individual good enough to dominate for a decade.

    Of course, such dominance is easier forecast than achieved. Guardiola's quarter-final problem is no more. Now, how is his Champions League semi-finals record?

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