Bacon’s Bites: Tiger Woods, the WIndies and the Ipswich Witches...what’s not to like?
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In this week’s column MIKE BACON takes a look at Tiger Woods’ hopes of another Masters win, the demise of WIndies cricket... And speedway is back!
No! Please tell me it couldn’t happen.
Not because I don’t want it to. But because it would simply be outrageous, rude almost... Tiger Woods to win the Masters this year.
It’s only a couple of weeks now to this wonderful golfing event at Augusta National and incredibly Woods, who last won a Major 10 years ago, and was deemed down on his luck, down on his game and down in life only 18 months ago, has resurfaced in style and is second favourite with the bookies to lift a Masters trophy he last won in 2005.
Hands up all those who thought he was finished?
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I’ll tell you, I was one of them.
Then again I was one of Andy Murray’s fickle fans who also thought the Scot would never win another Slam – after his first Wimbledon victory.
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You see, you should never write off great sportspeople.
Woods is still only 42 for goodness sake. Me and my mate ‘Bulky’ talk about Woods down the pub - always in the past tense - as though he’s about 80 and ‘was’ one of the greatest-ever golfers.
People, he still is one of the greatest - today, this week, this year.
And incredibly, after debilitating back surgery, Woods has turned in consecutive top-five finishes at the Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational in recent weeks.
Form is temporary, class is permanent as the old adage goes.
But despite all of the hype, there is a real chance that Woods - a player many already consider the greatest golfer ever - will never have the stats to back that up.
His 14 Majors still leave him four behind Jack Nicklaus, while his 79 PGA Tour victories, leave him three behind Sam Snead.
Woods has not found himself at the top of the leaderboard at Sunday’s end in five attempts this season.
His odds of winning the Masters have been slashed by the bookies because reasonable observers would consider his three straight top-12 finishes as ‘in the groove’.
And that’s the key.
Fine lines decide top sporting events and knowing how to win is one of those lines.
Woods has that in abundance.
Will he offer us sport’s greatest-ever comeback at Augusta in a couple of weeks time?
Ask yourself, will you bet against it?
West Indies cricket has really fallen away.
Back in my youth, the likes of Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall and in more recent decades, Joel Garner, Courtney Walsh and Curtley Ambrose totally terrified cricket nations of the world with their fast, full-on, in your face bowling style.
While at the other end, Gordon Greenidge, Des Haynes, Clive Lloyd and Brian Lara, among many great West Indian batsmen, smashed the ball, ‘Caribbean-style’ across cricket grounds all over the world when the WIndies ruled the waves.
So, I found it rather eerie this week to notice that the same nation were battling for one of two places in next year’s World Cricket Cup, against the likes of Scotland, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and the UAE!
Now, no disrespect to any of the above, but what has happened to cricket in the Caribbean that has seen them fall from such grace?
This needs addressing.
We need the WIndies back at the top table of world cricket – and sooner the better.
The speedway season starts next week at Foxhall Stadium.
In fact the speedway season has already started, but hey, it’s all about the Witches!
Don’t tell me you have never been to a speedway meeting. What? Why not?
It’s a fun night out, especially when the weather gets a bit warmer and t-shirts and shorts are the order of the night on a balmy July evening on Foxhall Heath.
I first started reporting on the Witches back in 1997, but have been going for longer than that!
And I still look forward to each season.
OK, so at its worst, speedway can be the most complicated sport on the planet, with guest rulings no-one outside the sport understands, a doubling-up of riders that sees them riding for two clubs in different leagues in the same year, that beggars belief. And an ability to pad out 15 one-minute races into two hours of entertainment!
However, at it’s best speedway is one of the very best.
Exciting races, riders you can mix with before and after meetings, no crowd trouble or bad language and competitive admission prices for professional sport in this country.
Go on, you know you want to... see you at Foxhall.