Tiger Woods is no stranger to comebacks.

Between 2014 and 2017, when an injury-plagued Woods was barely able to compete at the highest level, let alone seriously contend for honours, there were plenty of compelling storylines in golf's major championships.

Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth each won two in succession to suggest a glorious new rivalry was in prospect, while the latter sensationally threw away the Masters in 2016 before producing a remarkable recovery to win the following year's Open. In addition, there were two truly memorable final-day duels, Henrik Stenson edging out Phil Mickelson to win the 2016 Open Championship and Sergio Garcia pipping Justin Rose at Augusta nine months later.

By the time Garcia finally earned major glory at the 74th attempt, it was becoming easy to view Woods' career as a top-level player in the past tense. 

Little more than a month later, the former world number one was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Florida, following an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine, and a humiliating mugshot of Woods made headlines around the world.

In light of that embarrassing episode and Woods' continued back problems, it was truly incredible to see a resurgent Tiger threaten to win two majors in 2018 before he then ended a five-year victory drought at the Tour Championship.

Yet it turned out the best was still to come. And there can be no doubt that the events of April 14, 2019 at Augusta comfortably trump all of the aforementioned major narratives. If golf was good in Woods' absence, it got a whole lot better when he returned, and the world will hope he has another comeback in him after Tuesday's car accident in Los Angeles.

In winning the Masters for a fifth time, Woods not only added the most remarkable chapter to his stunning career, but he once again proved he is the one athlete who moves the needle like no other.

While the likes of Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Tom Brady, and LeBron James are all rightly recognised as masters of their respective crafts, none of those superstars can match Woods when it comes to the impact they have on their sport.

When Woods is successful, interest in golf is taken to a whole new level, for one simple reason.

As Williams herself tweeted at the time of his Masters triumph, to watch his success was to witness "greatness like no other".

It is essentially impossible to quantify whether Messi is better than Federer, or whether Serena is superior to James, given they are competing in different fields.

Yet it is hard to envisage any active sportsperson commanding more attention than a successful Woods. More than a decade after his period of outrageous dominance in golf ended, he once again reprised his role as sport's most captivating figure, one who somehow regained a majestic aura after it appeared he was a busted flush.

When he secured victory at the 2019 Masters, it felt like the whole world was watching, and doubtless they are watching now – hoping for another miracle comeback.

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.

Dustin Johnson is excited to attack the rest of the 2021 season after proving at the Saudi International that he still has the game that won him The Masters.

Despite a difficult Sunday on the greens, Johnson held off Tony Finau and Justin Rose to win by two strokes, claiming the title for the second time.

It was Johnson's ninth European Tour victory, and among American players only Phil Mickelson (10) and Tiger Woods (41) have more.

A two-under-par day saw Johnson finish 15 under for the tournament, with Rose and Finau tied on 13 under.

The world number one clinched his second major and first green jacket in November and will defend his Masters title at Augusta in April.

Victory at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club was his first since The Masters and, asked about his performance, Johnson said: "I kept giving myself a lot of chances, I didn't hole any of them but I kept hitting good shots.

"I finally holed a really nice putt on 13. I just played solid all day, couldn't hole any putts today though.

"I don't get to play around the world as much as I'd like to, it's definitely nice to get a win not on my tour and obviously after Augusta to get my first win again, obviously the game is still in really good form and I'm really excited about the rest of the year."

Rose came up short despite shooting a five-under 65, though Rasmus Hojgaard's eight-under 62 was the best score of the day, the 19-year-old Dane further underlining his potential en route to a sixth-place finish.

"That was the best golf I played in quite some time," Rose said. "I did not make one putt today; the longest putt I made was seven feet for par on 16 so really clean round of golf.

"It's nice to feel like I've come out of the three-week trip with a nice bit of positive momentum today."

Johnson will next week play the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which will not feature amateurs this year, while Rose is set to focus on the PGA Tour's upcoming Florida swing.

Dustin Johnson will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Saudi International after finishing with a flourish at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club on Saturday.

Johnson was two strokes adrift of joint-leaders Ryan Fox and Stephen Gallacher at the halfway mark, but the world number one will be the man to catch in the final round.

The Masters champion was upwardly mobile on moving day, carding a four-under 66 to go out on his own at 13 under in an event he won in 2019 before finishing second last year.

Johnson had not dropped a shot this week until his double bogey at the 13th, relinquishing a two-shot advantage after finding the water.

The two-time major winner put that setback behind him like the champion that he is, ending his third round with back-to-back birdies, having also made three gains on the front nine and another at the 10th.

A second successive 66 left Victor Perez in second place, the Frenchman going out in 32 following three birdies and picking up another shot at 17 in a blemish-free round.

Race to Dubai leader Tyrrell Hatton is a further shot back on 10 under along with fellow Englishman Andy Sullivan, Tony Finau and Soren Kjeldsen.

Fox slipped back nine under with a 71, two bogeys on the front nine and as many after the turn denting his hopes of being crowned champion.

Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia are among another six players at nine under, the Spaniard making great strides with a sublime six-under 64 - the lowest round of the day.

World number one Dustin Johnson brought out his major-winning best game before fading light brought an end to day two of the Saudi International.

After an opening three-under-par 67 on Thursday, Johnson upped his level and was five under for his second round through 14 holes, for an eight-under aggregate that put him two shots behind co-leaders Ryan Fox and Stephen Gallacher.

A long birdie putt at the second hole set the tone as Johnson's card remained blemish free, as had also been the case in his opening 18 holes, and he made further gains at the fourth, seventh, 13th and 14th to move firmly into contention.

It put the reigning Masters champion into a four-man tie for third, with plenty of golf in the second round to be completed on Saturday morning.

Local stormy weather caused an interruption of over two hours to the early afternoon action at Royal Greens, where New Zealander Fox managed to complete his round but many could not.

Like Johnson, Gallacher was on the back nine when it became unrealistic for play to continue, the world number 501 from Scotland having followed his dazzling 62 on day one with a steady two-under-par performance through 12 holes.

Fox, ranked 208th in the world, completed a second successive 65 to earn the clubhouse lead, with six birdies and a bogey on his card.

He is determined not to be distracted by the star-studded field at the European Tour event, saying: "This is what you play golf for, to be in contention.

"It's been a while since I've been in this position and I'll just go out and enjoy it on the weekend and see if I can keep playing how I'm playing. I know if I do, I've got a good chance on Sunday.

"I don't know how many of the top 50 in the world are here this week but it's a lot. And there's a reason they're there, they're world-class players, and I certainly hope to be there one day."

Quoted on the tour's website, Fox added: "If I can play well this week, then it's a step forward in that direction."

Johnson was joined on eight under by Englishman Andy Sullivan and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, who both completed their rounds, plus Sweden's Marcus Kinhult.

Former British Masters winner Kinhult, 24, had a triple bogey at the second but an eagle and four birdies kept him towards the top end of the leaderboard, with two holes of his round left to negotiate.

Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose both reached seven under, and that was also the mark where their fellow Englishman David Horsey stood after 12 holes when play ended for the day. The first-round leader made heavier weather of it on Friday as he followed up his opening 61 by producing 10 pars and two bogeys.

David Horsey bolted out of the blocks on day one of the Saudi International at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, with his nine-under 61 securing a one-shot lead.

Horsey had missed the cut in his previous two events but enjoyed an emphatic return to form in Saudi Arabia, where world number one Dustin Johnson carded a 67.

The Englishman boasted an unblemished scorecard, though it was his back nine that attracted most of the glory.

Seven of his nine birdies came after the turn, and an eagle on the par-five 18th would have secured him only the second 59 in European Tour history.

He fell short of that achievement but was no less taken aback by his performance, partly putting his improvement down to a telephone chat with a friend back at home on the eve of the tournament.

"It's a shock actually," he is quoted as saying by the European Tour website. "I've been playing rubbish the last couple weeks. Didn't feel like I controlled my ball the first two events.

"I had a conversation with a pal back home last night, talking a few things through and he suggested something that I work on away from the tournament.

"Knowing me, I thought, well, [I] can't get any worse, so I may as well try it and here we are. It's really just how my body is moving – quite sort of technical really. It's nice to have a feel you can wake up and pick up straight away.

"I didn't really feel like I missed many shots. I holed a couple of nice, lengthy putts as well and it all adds up to 61."

While Horsey was undoubtedly grateful to rein in his patchy recent form, he is now saddled with an entirely different form of pressure at the top of the leaderboard.

Stephen Gallacher is breathing down his neck having gone around in 62, his best ever opening-round score, and the Scot – who won two of his four European Tour titles in the Middle East – is relishing his golf after a difficult 2020 all round.

"It was just draw a line in the sand for 2020," he said. "With everything that happened: the pandemic, [death of] my dad, losing friends, it was just one of those terrible years.

"I couldn't wait for 2021 to come really and get back to a bit of normal - back playing and back enjoying it.

"I worked hard in the winter in the gym and on my net in the house, and came out early and showed a bit of form early doors. 2020, just erase it from my memory and look forward now to 2021."

Bernd Wiesberger is another shot back and then there are six tied for fourth on five under, including 2020 U.S. Open champions Bryson DeChambeau.

Paul Casey won by four shots at the Dubai Desert Classic to claim his 15th European Tour title.

The world number 27 led by one stroke heading into the final round and carded a two-under par 70 on Sunday to finish clear of closest challenger Brandon Stone. 

European Ryder Cup hopeful Casey was given a scare by Robert MacIntyre, who had a share of the lead at one point, before four successive bogeys put him out of contention.

Casey enjoyed a strong back nine that included a two-putt birdie on the par-five 18th hole to card 271 overall for the tournament.

Stone bogeyed three of his first seven holes but recovered as the day went on to leapfrog MacIntyre into second spot, finishing one shot better off than the Scotsman.

Victory for Casey is his first since the European Open in September 2019. It takes the 43-year-old ahead of Rory McIlroy on the all-time list of European Tour successes, and level with Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington. 

"It's very, very special," Casey said. "Dubai has been so good to tour, but to golf around the world as well has been so cool. I've worked so hard.

"I'm hoping for a lot of good stuff for the rest of the season. I feel like I've regained my youth; I mean that sincerely. I'm so happy."

Further down the standings, Laurie Canter finished in a tie with Kalle Samooja for fourth place, while Harrington's final-round 70 saw him share sixth place with Bernd Wiesberger and Sergio Garcia.

Tyrell Hatton produced a magnificent final round of 66 to win the Abu Dhabi Championship by four shots on Sunday.

Hatton started the day a stroke adrift of Rory McIlroy, but finished in dominant fashion to secure his fourth Rolex Series title.

The Englishman made a dream start to the 2021 Race to Dubai, closing with a six-under round to end the week well clear on 18 under.

Jason Scrivener matched world number nine Hatton in posting a 66 thanks to an impressive back nine, seeing him finish in second place, a shot ahead of McIlroy.

Hatton's triumph ensured he equalled Jon Rahm's record of Rolex Series successes, having also won the 2017 Italian Open, 2019 Turkish Airlines Open and 2020 BMW PGA Championship.

He made three birdies on the front nine and as many after the turn to seal a sixth European Tour victory at a canter.

McIlroy finished on 13 after signing for a level-par 72, with four bogeys frustrating the Northern Irishman after two gains from his first three holes.

Scrivener went out in 37, but got on a roll after the turn, sparked by an eagle-three at the 10th, followed by five birdies.

Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello took fourth place on 12 under, while Tommy Fleetwood dropped back into a share of seventh on 10 under.

David Lipsky and Marc Warren were unable to finish with a flourish, both carding rounds of 71 to finish joint-fifth.

Rory McIlroy knows he must earn the right to end his wait for glory at the Abu Dhabi Championship after setting up what could be a thrilling final day.

The four-time major winner stormed back into the lead of the tournament on day three to set up a finale that will see him duel with Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood for glory.

McIlroy was five shots behind Hatton overnight but after a strong finish to his delayed second round and a five-under 67 in round three, he now leads by one.

He sits on 13 under for the tournament, closely followed by Hatton at 12 under, while Fleetwood – a two-time winner at the event – is a further shot behind.

McIlroy has won a host of titles in his glittering career, but is yet to triumph in a Rolex Series event.

Having impressively been runner-up in Abu Dhabi four times and also come third on three occasions, he was asked ahead of Sunday's battle whether his time had come.

"I can't go into the day thinking it is my turn," said world number six McIlroy, who had an eagle on the 10th and five birdies.

"I want to make it my turn. I have to go out there and continue to hit the ball like I hit it on the back nine.

"If I can do that and give myself plenty of chances, I will have a really good chance.

"It's so blustery - a different type of golf than we're used to playing in Abu Dhabi. Usually not much wind and you have a chance on every hole but there is a little more scrambling involved and longer putts.

"So I thought I did well. Obviously had that big stroke of luck on 10, the ball hitting the pin and going in. 

"Apart from that, I played well. I drove it much better on the back nine and I hit it much better on the back nine, so I was really encouraged about that."

Hatton was in control of the tournament overnight but now faces a Sunday scrap, though he is relishing the challenge.

"It's pretty cool group to be a part of," said Hatton, who is eyeing a fourth Rolex Series win. 

"I'm sure the standard of golf will be pretty good and I'm hoping that I can play well and give myself a chance to win.

"You're always going to have days like that and you just try and get through it and the good thing is that I'm still in contention going into the final round. 

"Obviously one shot back which isn't ideal but a lot can happen in 18 holes. Hopefully things go my way."

Fleetwood produced consecutive rounds of 67 to move into contention after starting with a 71.

"I played well and solid," he said. "Really good round of golf and just happy to be in contention again."

Rory McIlroy stormed back into the lead of the Abu Dhabi Championship to set up a thrilling final day that will see him duel with Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood for glory.

Three of golf's leading names occupy the top three spots on the leaderboard after a dramatic Saturday at the Rolex Series event.

A 67 from McIlroy moved him to 13 under par for the tournament, one shot clear of Hatton, who dropped back after thriving in round two.

Fleetwood also registered a five-under 67 and sits in striking distance at 11 under.

Marc Warren and David Lipsky are in the hunt at 10 under, while Rafa Cabrera-Bello (-9) will hope a fast start can see him move into contention.

Hatton entered day three in control of the tournament, acknowledging himself he was in "a great position".

But after bad light caused a suspension of play on day two, the first task was to complete the second round, and Hatton's momentum stalled.

He was one over in completing his last five holes while two birdies from McIlroy moved him closer to the Englishman, three shots behind at the start of round three.

It did not get much better for Hatton, who eventually had to settle for a 71, comfortably his worst score of the week.

But he remains right behind world number six McIlroy, who had an eagle and five birdies in a magnificent third round, with bogeys on seven and 13 his only setbacks.

Fleetwood was one of the fortunate players who had completed his round on day two, and he had six birdies on Saturday, picking up a crucial one at 18 to move himself closer to the leaders.

World number three Justin Thomas, in the spotlight after a controversy over his use of a homophobic slur at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii this month, missed the cut. 

The American was two under through 14 holes when play was halted on Friday, but a miserable double-bogey on 18 ended his hopes.

A poor 75 from defending champion Lee Westwood in round three left him out of the running.

Leader McIlroy has enjoyed a remarkable career but victory on Sunday would be the first time he has triumphed in a Rolex Series event.

Despite not winning it, he has an impressive record at this tournament, having been runner-up four times and coming third on three occasions.

Tyrrell Hatton acknowledged he had put himself in a great position for glory at the Abu Dhabi Championship as he surged past overnight leader Rory McIlroy. 

Round two will have to be completed on Saturday after bad light caused a suspension of play a day after fog had impacted the opening round. 

But Englishman Hatton was an impressive five under par for the 13 holes he was able to play, surging on to 12 under for the tournament. 

That gave him a five-shot advantage over a group of four players, including McIlroy, at the Rolex Series event. 

Jason Scrivener, Jazz Janewattananond and Romain Langasque are with McIlroy at seven under. 

"I'm obviously in a great position at the moment," said Hatton. "It was certainly tough out there, so I'm really happy to be five under [for the round]. 

"I held some nice putts and there were a couple of par putts towards the end of my round - nice to hold them and keep a bit of momentum going. 

"It [a long day on Saturday] will be fine. I'll just try and stay loose and see how we go."

Hatton, with his short game thriving, eagled the second hole and then immediately gave one of those shots back at the third. 

But four straight birdies between holes seven and 10 provided him with a commanding lead. 

McIlroy had started the day with a one-shot advantage at eight under and quickly improved to 10 under through three holes. 

However, the Northern Irishman fell apart from there with three bogeys and a double bogey in the 10 holes that followed before the suspension of play gave him some respite after 13. 

Tommy Fleetwood was able to complete his round, an impressive five-under 67 moving him to within a shot of McIlroy as part of a five-man group sitting at six under. 

World number three Justin Thomas, in the spotlight after a controversy over his use of a homophobic slur at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month, fared better than he did on day one. 

The American was two under through 14 holes when play was brought to an end, improving to one under for the week but still 11 shots adrift of Hatton. 

Reigning champion Lee Westwood is three under in a tie for 24th position.

Rory McIlroy put his lowest-scoring round at the Abu Dhabi Championship down to precision putting as the four-time major winner shot a first-round 64.

The Northern Irishman, paired with the under-fire Justin Thomas, had to be patient as play was delayed amid fog but he made up for lost time in eye-catching fashion.

McIlroy closed day one on eight under, putting the 31-year-old a shot clear of Ryder Cup team-mate Tyrrell Hatton, with Fabrizio Zanotti a stroke further back.

The delay meant not everyone managed to complete 18 holes, but McIlroy was pleased to be sitting pretty in the clubhouse. 

"A lot of it was very good. I felt like I drove the ball well for the most part. Distance control was really good," McIlroy said of a display which saw him sink four birdies apiece on the front and back nine.

"I think I started off really well and hit a lot of nice iron shots, but honestly it was probably the best I've putted these greens in Abu Dhabi probably in my whole career.

"I've shot some really good scores here but I held some really good ones today.

"And I've always struggled to read them here, but I sort of got my eye in early and kept it going."

After becoming embroiled in recent controversy for his use of a homophobic slur, McIlroy's playing partner Thomas found himself well off the pace on one over.

The American was dropped by sponsor Ralph Lauren following the incident, in which the world number three was heard making an offensive comment by a television microphone when playing at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month.

Thomas subsequently apologised for his "inexcusable" use of the slur.

Reigning champion Lee Westwood carded a 69, putting him in a big group on three under, with English compatriot Justin Rose for company, though the Olympic champion managed only 11 holes.

Justin Thomas insists his "embarrassing" and "humiliating" use of a homophobic slur is "not me" and reflected on Ralph Lauren's decision to stop working with him as a result of the incident.

World number three Thomas was heard making the offensive comment by a television microphone when playing at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii earlier this month.

Afterwards, Thomas apologised for his "inexcusable" use of the slur and he again addressed the issue when previewing the Abu Dhabi Championship on the European Tour this weekend. 

"It's humiliating. It's embarrassing. It's not me. It's not a word that I use, but for some reason, it was in there," Thomas said. 

"And that's what I'm trying to figure out as to why it was in there, and just like I said, it's going to be a part of this process and training program or whatever I need to do, not only to prove to myself but prove to my sponsors and prove to those people that don't know who I am that that is indeed not the person I am."

Thomas will be playing without shirt branding in Abu Dhabi after Ralph Lauren opted to end its partnership with the 27-year-old.

Asked about the company's decision, Thomas replied: "I think disappointed is the wrong word. 

"Obviously I was upset. But at the end of the day, they have that right. They had to make the decision that they had to make. I spoke with them along with all my sponsors. 

"Although I apologised, it's like it was then; it's an opportunity for me to grow and I felt like it was something we could have done together and gone through that process. 

"They just felt like they needed to move on. That's exactly what I'm doing, as well. It was a great run that we had and a great partnership, but you know, things will work out on the best."

Thomas confirmed conversations have been held with his other sponsors, adding: "I've had great communication with all of them. 

"It was obviously not calls or e-mails I was hoping or planning to make but I needed to because I have some great long-lasting partnerships with all my sponsors. They know that's not the person that I am.

"They know that's not how I act and although they are far from brushing it to the side just like I am, they understand that this is an opportunity for me to educate myself, grow, become a better person, and just like they hope, I know that I'll become a better man and a better person because of it, and they are going to kind of help me along that process."

Thomas earned the backing of Rory McIlroy, who is confident his on-course rival will learn from his error in judgement.

"I think he's already responded really, really well," the four-time major winner said. 

"I think he realised he made a big mistake as soon as it was brought to him and he completely owned up to it. He said he messed up; he's going to try to be better. 

"And you know, Justin is true to his word. He will be. If anything, it will probably just make him a better person than he already is, which is hard because he's already a great guy."

Golf superstars including Tiger Woods and defending champion Dustin Johnson are set to play in front of "limited" crowds at the Masters, it was announced on Tuesday.

Last year's tournament was delayed from April to November because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there were no spectators allowed for that edition of the major at Augusta National.

That is set to change in 2021, says organisers, who are preparing to welcome a small number of Augusta's 'patrons' to watch the action unfold.

Full attendance was ruled out given the continuing need for social distancing, and those allowed entry must adhere to strict health protocols.

Augusta National club chairman Fred Ridley said: “Following the successful conduct of the Masters tournament last November with only essential personnel, we are confident in our ability to responsibly invite a limited number of patrons to Augusta National in April.

"As with the November Masters, we will implement practices and policies that will protect the health and safety of everyone in attendance.

"Nothing is, or will be, more important than the well-being of all involved. While we are disappointed that we will be unable to accommodate a full complement of patrons this year, we will continue our efforts to ensure that all who purchased tickets from Augusta National will have access in 2022, provided conditions improve."

The Masters is scheduled to take place at its Georgia home from April 8 to 11, with Johnson looking to follow up the stunning 20-under-par performance that saw him win a first green jacket.

That was a record score for a champion in the tournament's history and came a year after former world number one Woods landed his 15th major title when he triumphed at the Masters for a fifth time.

The 2022 US PGA Championship will no longer be held at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

The PGA of America announced on Sunday it had terminated its agreement to play the major at the course owned by United States president Donald Trump.

It comes just days after supporters of the president stormed the United States Capitol.

"The PGA of America Board of Directors voted tonight to exercise the right to terminate the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster," PGA of America president Jim Richerson said in a statement.

"It has become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand and would put at risk the PGA's ability to deliver our many programs and sustain the longevity of our mission," Richerson added in a video.

The decision to hold the tournament at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster was made in 2014.

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