Regulars readers of this cobbled-the-gither column occasionally get in touch to tell me what they think of it. Some even go to the handy lengths of including diagrams showing me where I can stick it.

It would be stretching it somewhat to suggest that a certain ‘Mr T Woods, Jupiter, Florida’ will send a letter in to The Herald berating me for writing him off on many occasions down the years. But if he wants to get some things off his chest, then I can be reached at the usual addresses.

Who knew that humble pie could taste so good? And, let’s face it, that is what many of us have been feasting on in great big, slootery fistfuls over the last 24 hours.

Woods’ Masters conquest on Sunday night was fantastic, epic, majestic and seismic. And if you can think of another triumphant adjective that ends with ‘ic’, then, yes, it was that as well.

On a wonderfully flabbergasting day at Augusta, Tiger’s jaw-dropping 15th major win left all and sundry floating around with mouths agape like whales homing in on a shoal of undulating plankton.

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In a game consumed by history, Woods, remarkably, has continued his own historic quest as his hitherto dormant assault on Jack Nicklaus’ haul of 18 majors now has fresh impetus.

The next major, the US PGA, is just a month away at a Bethpage course where Woods has triumphed before. June’s US Open, meanwhile, is at his happy ground of Pebble Beach, the scene of his magical 15-stroke canter in 2000.

Nicklaus won his last major at 46. Julius Boros holds the record as the oldest major winner for his win in the PGA in 1968 at 48. And Tom Watson came within a par putt of the Open title at nearly 60 in 2009.

In this magical game, anything is possible. Woods, at a reborn 43, continues to teach us that.

As comebacks go, his recovery has probably led to Lazarus taking voluntary redundancy. A flawed man? Well, we know that. But Woods still belongs in a very small club of genuine icons who transcend sport.

Golf takes on a fresh identity and claims a broader interest when Woods is part of the narrative. That hasn’t changed over two decades.

Despite a conveyor belt of talent who were inspired by the feats of Tiger in his all-conquering pomp, nobody has ever come close to generating such a widespread hoopla.

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A few years ago, Rory McIlroy suggested that “a few guys need to put their hands up and try to be the dominant player in the game because that’s what people like to see.” The Northern Irishman was well aware that there was a void to fill.

McIlroy is one of those players who has that genuine star attraction but it’s not in the same, frenzied league as Woods. The current golfing landscape can see any number of players win on any given week but, in an age where celebrity rules the roost, widespread parity just doesn’t cut it.

A decade ago, Woods was immersed in the infidelity scandal that tossed his image out with the wheelie bins.

He was forced into a very public and excruciating show of humiliating contrition against a backdrop of finger-wagging sanctimony and tut-tutting piety.

Remember the words of the then Augusta chairman Billy Payne pontificating ahead of the 2010 Masters? “Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children,” he said of Woods’ shenanigans.

“It is not simply the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here, it is the fact he disappointed all of us and more importantly our kids and our grandkids.”

From a club with a history of racism and sexism, taking on the role of a shimmering paragon of virtue was quite something. Hypocrisy is all part of life’s rich tapestry eh?


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The Tiger has dropped some of the shackles that were part of his period of dominance. He is more engaging with the media, he chats genially with playing partners and the inscrutable, clinical, robotic-like efficiency of yore has been replaced by a happier, appreciative outlook. Care-free and finally pain-free, he displays a far more appealing side.

From the grim depths of professional, personal and physical despair, which saw him hirpling and hobbling away from events, sliding to 1,119th in the world and having his bloated features captured in a police mugshot, Woods has been resurrected.

Through it all, the prospect of being involved in the cut-and-thrust of competitive golf, however fanciful it seemed to sceptical onlookers, continued to sustain Woods.

He retained a deep, unwavering motivation, a quite remarkable trait given all that he has endured over the years.

Not so long ago, Woods was a broken man. Now, he may yet break new golfing ground.