I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed my attention span getting shorter in these locked down times. In fact, my mind started to wander off just then, halfway through typing the word 'span'.

Apparently, our general attentiveness has been diminishing for years and has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds now. 

In that sense, merely reading down to this point of the Tuesday column is a triumph of mental focus and fortitude broadly equivalent to absorbing the entire works of Tolstoy. War and Peace? That’s what my agonised mind tends to go through just writing this bloomin’ thing…


For all this talk of dwindling attention spans, Collin Morikawa continues to make us all sit up and take notice as he grabs said attention and holds it in a double nelson. His victory in the WGC Workday Championship was the fourth PGA Tour victory of a professional career which is only a couple of years old. His rise has been so meteoric, he’ll be getting honorary membership of NASA.

At just 24, Morikawa became just the second player, after his great idol Tiger Woods, to have a major and a WGC title on the cv before turning 25. “Tiger means everything to me,” Morikawa said of his fellow Californian and enduring inspiration.

With Woods recovering from his fearful car crash, golfing observers are, once again, facing up to the post-Tiger age. There will, of course, never be another Woods but in the frenzy of anointments and coronations it still doesn’t stop the phrase ‘the next Tiger Woods’ being banded about in giddy abandon.

That’s nothing new. Rory McIlroy was going to be the dominant force when he won four majors in three years between 2011 and 2014 but he hasn’t won another since. Jordan Spieth took up the running when he landed a triple whammy of majors in two years from 2015 before Brooks Koepka seized the baton with four majors between 2017 and 2019.

The shadow of Woods’ colossal accomplishments looms large over the generation who grew up marvelling at his unrelenting period of supremacy. A reminder – not that we needed one – of this tyrannical rule was highlighted by a colleague last week when he posted Tiger’s run of results between the WGC Bridgestone Invitational of 2007 and the US Open of 2008. In 12 events during that span, Woods won nine times, including two majors, and finished second twice. It was an astonishing run.

The magnitude of Woods’ conquests continues to dwarf all that those coming up behind have achieved but comparisons with such a unique sporting specimen are largely unfair. Golf has a vibrant and varied bunch of players at its vanguard. It’s important to savour the present and enjoy watching the likes of Morikawa penning their own success stories instead of looking for them to re-write those triumphant tales of Tiger.


Can you remember Yani Tseng? She was the all-conquering force on the women’s scene who had won five majors by the age of 22 and became the first golfer, male or female, to seize such a shimmering plunder. 

In 2012, Tseng, who was world No. 1 for 109 consecutive weeks, won her 15th LPGA Tour title. And then she didn’t win again. In fact, she plumbed the kind of depths usually reserved for the humpback anglerfish.

Last week, Tseng, now 32, made her first appearance on the LPGA Tour in two years. Annika Sorenstam, meanwhile, made her first outing on the circuit since the decorated Swede retired in 2008, the same year in which Tseng won her first major. While 50-year-old Sorenstam grabbed much of the attention by playing all four rounds, Tseng finished at the foot of the field and missed the cut with rounds of 81 and 83.

Tseng’s rise to greatness was so rapid, there was no time to look down. When she did, the vertigo was crippling. “I was looking at what I imagined world No. 1 should be, someone much better than I am,” she confessed of her struggles and self-doubts.

Professional golf, with its bountiful variables and complex demands, can be a brutal, unforgiving arena where any fragility is ruthlessly exposed. Tseng has discovered that. At 32, she should be in the prime of her career. Instead, she’s tentatively dipping her toe back in the competitive waters. It’s a fickle old game.


We’ve grown so accustomed to grim tidings over the last year, the Four Minute Warning would probably make for a jovial break from the sighing norm.

For young amateur golfers, the news that the first three national championships of the season, the Scottish Boys’ and Girls’ Opens and the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open, have again been cancelled, not just postponed, was another downbeat development.

In the grand scheme of pandemic life, of course, it’s not at the top of the priority list. But for up-and-coming golfers with aspirations it will still be a hard one to stomach after 12 months of zero competition. Without any targets or goals to aim for, motivation and inspiration must be hard to come by.