Mahathir’s way vs Mandela’s

January 31, 2019

Mahathir’s way vs Mandela’s

Image result for Mahathir and Mandela
Sport, Foreign Policy and Politics
Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in ways little else does. It speaks to youths in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”–Nelson’ Madiba’ Mandela


Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has been Malaysia’s most inspiring politician since he led an unlikely coalition of opposition parties to defeat the previously all-powerful Barisan Nasional coalition in the country’s 14th general election.

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It was a triumphant return for the 93-year-old ex-Prime Minister with a reputation of having his own way, more so with revelations he croons to the Frank Sinatra classic “My Way”.

Five years after his death, Nelson Mandela remains South Africa’s most inspiring politician. It had been so from the moment he was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment as a 44-year-old freedom fighter in 1962. On May 10, 1994, four years after his release, the 78-year-old anti-apartheid icon became the first black to be elected president in South Africa’s first  democratic election.

One issue the hard-hitting Mahathir has revived since becoming Prime Minister again is Israel and the Jews. In a BBC interview last October, he was unsurprisingly unapologetic in calling the Jews “hook-nosed”, among other criticisms of the Jewish state and people. Various foreign governments and international human rights groups have condemned his “decades-long record of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories”.

In recent weeks, the issue re-surfaced with Mahathir behind Malaysia’s decision to bar Israel and its athletes from participating in the 9th World Para Swimming Championships, which Sarawak successfully won the bid to host in July. This week, the International Paralympic Committee stripped Malaysia of the right to host the world event due to Putrajaya’s decision to bar Israel’s participation.

Nearly 25 years ago, Mandela faced quite a similar dilemma, albeit of a much bigger scale. Before he came to power, the all-white South African government had already won the bid to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup. The new President had less than 12 months to act before the event started. The whites in South Africa loved rugby as much as the blacks hated it. The green jersey of the Springboks – the national team – was a hated symbol of apartheid repression to the blacks. They cheered when the international sports community boycotted South Africa. Every foreign team received their undivided support when it played against the Springboks.

In that environment, Mandela, the man incarcerated for 27 years for his stubborn resistance to Apartheid, made the startling decision to embrace the Springboks. He was booed when he first tried to persuade the majority blacks to join him. The minority whites and most of the players were uncomfortable. But Mandela persisted in his campaign to get the divided nation to rally behind their national team which traveled around the country to introduce the game to children in poverty-stricken black townships.

In the month-long tournament, the unfancied but inspired Springboks went all the way to qualify for the final against rugby powerhouse New Zealand. The whole country was in a frenzy. Before the match started, Mandela walked down to the field wearing the green team jersey and cap to greet the players. The 65,000-crowd of mostly white South Africans was stunned in disbelief but moments later erupted into chants of “Nelson! Nelson! Nelson!”

The underdogs won 15-12. One anti-apartheid veteran described the scene when Mandela finally handed the World Cup to white Springboks captain Francois Pienaar: “There wasn’t a dry eye in the stadium. There wasn’t a dry eye in the country. Everybody celebrated. Every black township, every white suburb: One country at last!”

The historic episode also inspired the critically acclaimed movie “Invictus”.

A year after his retirement from politics, Mandela himself gave an explanation which is worth quoting in full:

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in ways little else does. It speaks to youths in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”

Peter Raja is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

2018 Ryder Cup, 2018: Europe beats back a talented United States team to regain trophy

October 1, 2018

2018 Ryder Cup, 2018: Europe beats back a talented United States team to regain trophy

Image result for francesco molinari at ryder cup in paris

The 2018 Ryder Cup was dramatic for a short while during the Sunday singles matches, but in the end, Europe rolled to a clear 17.5-10.5 victory after entering the day leading 10-6. The United States team certainly made the hosts earn the victory with a downhill string of early points and half points, but in a flurry at the end, the Euros took back the trophy after losing it two years ago and kept the U.S. from winning on European soil for the first time since 1993.

It felt close for a while (and it was on the scoreboard), but after losing the first session 3-1 on Friday morning, Europe went on to win the next four with a combined score of 16.5-7.5. It was an absolute thumping for the U.S., which came in as one of the better teams in this event’s history. It was also the Americans’ worst loss at this event since 2006 when they fell 18.5-9.5 at the K Club.

Sunday singles — Europe wins 17.5-10.5 overall

United States Europe Result
Justin Thomas Rory McIlroy

USA wins 1UP

Brooks Koepka Paul Casey Match halved
Webb Simpson Justin Rose USA wins 3&2
Tiger Woods Jon Rahm Europe wins 2&1
Tony Finau Tommy Fleetwood USA wins 6&4
Dustin Johnson Ian Poulter Europe wins 2UP
Jordan Spieth Thorbjorn Olsesn Europe wins 5&4
Rickie Fowler Sergio Garcia Europe wins 2&1
Phil Mickelson Francesco Molinari Europe wins 4&2 (clincher)
Patrick Reed Tyrrell Hatton USA wins 3&2
Bubba Watson Henrik Stenson Europe wins 5&4
Bryson DeChambeau Alex Noren Europe wins 1UP

With victories from Justin Thomas, Tony Finau and Webb Simpson — plus a half point from Brooks Koepka — the Americans moved to within 10.5-9.5 of the Europeans, which led the Ryder Cup since Friday afternoon onward. The Yanks would only win one point the rest of the day.

After Thomas, Finau and Simpson provided hope, a handful of other matches teetered toward the U.S., and a path to victory was at least visible. However, the United States could not afford to let any of the matches in the middle topple Europe’s way as captain Jim Furyk front-loaded his singles with guys who were playing better golf. The back end looked dicey from the start.

Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson badly needed to flip their matches against Jon Rahm and Ian Poulter, respectively, and they didn’t. Europe got two full points from them, and it was all but over. When Rahm downed Woods 2&1 on the 17th hole with his fourth birdie of the day and Poulter took world No. 1 Johnson at the 18th 2UP, the only question left was who would do the final deed. The answer was somewhat humorous.

Phil Mickelson, who struggled all week and helped engender the task force that led to the selection of this team, hit a ball in the water on No. 16, took off his hat and conceded to Francesco Molinari. The point means Molinari is just the fourth man to go 5-0-0 in a Ryder Cup and the first to ever do it in the same year he won a major. Woods and Mickelson combined to go 0-6-0 in the Ryder Cup, and Woods’ 0-4 mark made him the fourth to do that in a single Ryder Cup since 1979.

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“I don’t even think I can quantify to let you guys know how much it means,” Poulter told NBC after he got Europe to 13.5 points. “You see it in the emotion when we hole putts. You see it in the emotion of the fans. To be able to represent Europe is extremely special. To be able to win this thing back is even more special.”

Europe closed with more victories from Henrik Stenson over Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia over Rickie Fowler and Alex Noren over Bryson DeChambeau. They ended up winning a singles session they only had to halve. The ensuing celebration was more or less a parade. Fleetwood ran laps, Stenson toasted and Molinari insisted that he wishes it had been Garcia who had the holed the final putt to become the all-time points earner in Ryder Cup history. Noren ended it with a bang.

For the United States, it was a big week of questions with few answers. Why did Woods go 0-4-0 a week after winning the Tour Championship? Why did Johnson look listless for most of the event? What’s going on with Watson? And on and on we go.

For Europe, it’s yet another in a long line of machine-like performances. They took advantage of a course that fit their games, never panicked and forced the U.S. to need a miracle on Sunday. They didn’t get it, and as a result the Euros have won a seventh Ryder Cup in their last nine tries.

CBS Sports was with you the entire way Sunday updating this story with the latest scores, standings, highlights and analysis from Day 3 of the 2018 Ryder Cup. If you are unable to view the updates below, please click here.

Thanks for joining us.

    Kyle Porter  mugshot

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012.

Tiger Woods is back in grand fashion

September 24, 2018

Golf: Tiger Woods is back in grand fashion

ATLANTA – Tiger Woods, in his Sunday red shirt, both arms raised in victory on the 18th green.

Image result for Tiger Woods wins at Atlanta 2018

For so many years, the scene was familiar.This time, it was surreal.

”I can’t believe I pulled this off,” Woods said Sunday during the trophy presentation at the Tour Championship, where he gave thousands of delirious fans at East Lake, and millions more around the world, what they wanted to see, and what they thought they might never see again.

And at that moment, Woods was overcome with emotion and paused.

After two back surgeries six weeks apart, he couldn’t lie down, sit or walk without pain. Golf was the least of his concerns, so much that he once said anything else he achieved would be ”gravy.”

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Tiger Woods with the late Arnold D. Palmer

One year ago, while recovering from a fourth back surgery, he still had no idea if he could come back to the highest level of golf.

”Just to be able to compete and play again this year, that’s a hell of a comeback,” he said.

Woods delivered the perfect ending to his amazing return from back surgeries with a performance out of the past. He left the competition feeling hopeless as he built a five-shot lead early and then hung on for a 1-over 71 and a two-shot victory over Billy Horschel.

It was the 80th victory of his PGA Tour, two short of the career record held by Sam Snead that is now very much in play. And it was his first victory in more than five years, dating to the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational.

And that brought a new version of Tigermania.

After he hit his second shot to the par-5 18th safely in a bunker in front of the green, the crowd came through the ropes and followed behind in a chaotic celebration. It was like that when he walked from the left side of the 18th fairway at the 1997 Masters he won by 12. It was reminiscent of that walk up the 18th fairway later that summer at the Western Open in Chicago.

This was pure pandemonium. Fans chased after any inch of grass they could find to watch the ending.

”I didn’t want to get run over,” Woods said with a laugh.

This felt just as big as a major, maybe better considering where Woods had been.

Several players, from Zach Johnson to Rickie Fowler to Horschel, waited to greet him. It was Johnson who unveiled red shirts at the Ryder Cup two years ago in the team room that said, ”Make Tiger Great Again.”

”They knew what I was struggling with,” Woods said. ”It was special to see them.”

Woods played only one PGA Tour event over two seasons because of his back. Off the golf course, he had to overcome the embarrassment of a DUI arrest in the early morning of Memorial Day in 2017 when he was found asleep at the wheel, later found to have a concoction of pain medication in his system.

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He was becoming a legend on in video highlights. And then he brought it back to life this year, especially the last four days at East Lake. The players who have turns at No. 1 during his absence caught the full brunt of Woods in control. McIlroy faded early. Justin Rose faded late.

All that was left was the 42-year-old Woods in that red shirt, blazing brighter than ever, and a smile he couldn’t shake walking up the 18th to collect another trophy.

”The 80 mark is a big number,” he said. ”It’s a pretty damned good feeling.”

He finished at 11-under 269 and won $1.62 million, along with a $3 million bonus for finishing second in the FedEx Cup.

The only disappointment – a minor one under the circumstances – was realizing as he came down the 18th that Rose had made birdie to finish in a three-way tie for fourth, which gave him the FedEx Cup and the $10 million bonus.

Without that birdie, Woods would have won his third FedEx Cup title after starting at No. 20 going into the Tour Championship.

”Congrats, Rosie,” Woods told him. ”World No. 1, hell of a season.”

Actually, former world No. 1 for Rose. His four bogeys over the last 10 holes cost him the No. 1 ranking back to Dustin Johnson, who shot 67 and finished third.

But this wasn’t about the FedEx Cup or even the world ranking. This is Tiger’s big day, and nothing was going to change it.

Woods had never lost when leading by three shots or more going into the final round. That was when he was regularly winning multiple times every season, compiling trophies at a rate never before seen in golf.

Was anything different having gone more than five years without winning?

Rose had said it was a bit more unknown, and ”there’s a lot on it for him” as well as everyone else.

But this was still Woods’ arena. The walk from the putting green snakes some 80 yards across the road and through a gallery, and everyone could hear him coming from the procession of cheering. And within the opening hour, the Tour Championship had that inevitable feeling.

No one brings excitement like Woods, even when he plays so good and so smart that he eliminates any potential for drama.

The buzz was endless. A couple of teenagers climbed into a tree to see him made a 10-foot birdie on the first hole. When the putt dropped and cheers died, there was a wild sprint some 200 yards up the hill as fans tried to get into position for the next shot. He tapped in for par, and another stampede ensued to line the third fairway.

On and on it went. No one wanted to miss a shot.

A year ago, there was no guarantee anyone would see much of Woods, much less Woods winning.

He’s back again. This victory, his first since the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone in August 2013 – 1,876 days, to be exact – brought him to No. 13 in the world. Not bad for a 42-year-old with four back surgeries who returned to competition in December at No. 1,199 in the world.

The next stop for Woods is to board a plane with the rest of his U.S. teammates for France and the Ryder Cup.

After that?

There’s no telling.

Doug Ferguson is a national golf writer for The Associated Press.

GOLF: Italy’s Francesco Molinari is 2018 British Open Champion

July 23, 2018

GOLF: Italy’s Francesco Molinari is 2018 British Open Champion

by Jack Rosser

Italian Francesco Molinari has broken American dominance of golf‘s majors as he claimed his first at the Open Championship, capping a fine season ahead of the Ryder Cup.

The 35-year-old, whose best finish at the Open going into the weekend came at Muirfield in 2013 in a tie for ninth, beat defending champion Jordan Spieth, who collapsed on the final day, and was run close by Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and a host of American’s including the impressive Xander Schauffele.

Tiger Woods is back

Tiger Woods, making his first appearance at the Open since 2015, put in the most eye-catching performance since he returned from back fusion surgery, proving he remains a major contender.

Woods, playing alongside Molinari, assumed the outright lead when he produced a fine sand save to turn in 34 and Schauffele struggled down the seventh, taking two to get out of the rough, hitting his approach up against an out-of-bounds fence for a double-bogey.

The 42-year-old then produced a shot reminiscent of his pomp, thrashing a high, 150-yard wedge out of a steep-faced bunker to the front of the 10th green from where he made par.

Woods made a huge error at the 11th after finding the rough off the tee with an iron and it ultimately not only cost him the outright lead but a share of it.

He duffed his chip out of the rough from the back of the green and then three-putted for a double bogey to drop to five under, one back of a four-way tie for the lead.

A second successive double bogey totally killed Woods’ momentum – and potentially ended the fairytale. But the mantle was taken up by McIlroy who, having fought his way back to four under, holed a 35ft eagle putt on 14 to tie the lead.

Justin Rose set the new clubhouse lead on six under after his fourth birdie of the week at 18 having knocked to tap-in range, before McIlroy joined joined him in a share of the clubhouse lead having left his birdie attempt short.

Molinari missed a 15-foot birdie putt at the 17th which would have taken him clear at eight under, while Woods had to settle for par – leaving him needing a birdie at the last to keep his Open chances alive.

But a fantastic approach on the 18th left him with a look at birdie to assume the clubhouse lead, which he took before letting his emotions slip with a fierce fist-pump.


He watched on anxiously from the clubhouse as Schauffele took his time over on the 17th, leaving himself with work to do to make par and stay within touching distance, work he could not manage.

The 24-year-old’s bogey eased Molinari a little, and left him needing a two down the last, something which was first achieved in an Open at Carnousite on Saturday buy Zander Lombard.

It was a long shot, and one he was understandably not capable of.

Image result for francesco molinari and the Claret Jug

Molinari was professional and patient, making 13 straight pars before picking up a first birdie on the 14th, and a more than deserving winner.

Brooks Koepka first to win back-to-back U.S. Golf Opens in 29 years

June 18, 2018

Brooks Koepka first to win back-to-back U.S. Golf Opens in 29 years

Kyle Porter  & Chip Patterson

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Brooks Koepka battled through two tough afternoons at Shinnecock Hills over the weekend to become the first repeat winner at the U.S. Open since Curtis Strange in 1988-89 and just the second since Ben Hogan in 1950-51.

Everything about 2018’s event from the scoring perspective was the inverse of the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills. By winning on both courses, which forced golfers to play quite differently, Koepka has cemented his status as one of the best golfers in the world when he’s healthy.

Koepka not only had to battle 54-hole co-leader and playing partner Dustin Johnson, he had to keep his eye on a leaderboard that saw Masters champion Patrick Reed make a run and Tommy Fleetwood shoot the sixth 63 in U.S. Open history earlier in the day. Fleetwood entered the clubhouse at 2-over par, and after both Koepka and Johnson bogeyed the 11th hole, Fleetwood’s score looked strong enough to put him in contention for a playoff.

Image result for brooks koepka 2018 Open Golf Champion with Trophy

Brooks Koepka–US Open Golf Champion 2018 and 2017

But when Koepka knocked his approach shot snug on 16 to push the lead to even par with two holes to play, there was no question that he was going clear every hurdle Shinnecock Hills provided this week.

The initial challenge was his own doing, a 75 on Thursday with two bogeys and two double-bogeys. He rallied to a 66 on Friday, and as the course and conditions took hold of this tournament on Saturday afternoon, Koepka was impacted just like the rest of the field. He carded three bogeys in his final seven holes of the day to finish with a 72, but those four pars he had to grind out in the same stretch left him in tie for first place and in the mix to win on Sunday.

Round 4 was all about execution. Koepka was all over the pins early in the round, with birdies on three of the first five holes. When the wind picked up in the afternoon, he did as good a job scrambling as anyone on the course. He was lights out on the greens, burying tough putts from 5-10 feet when his playing partner couldn’t buy a birdie putt.

Here’s how the leaderboard looked at the end of the 2018 U.S. Open:

1. Brooks Koepka (+1): A two-putt bogey on No. 18 was not going to sour a coronation moment for the two-time major winner. While he occupies a crowded room of under-30 American superstars, no one else has two U.S. Open titles. In winning his second before turning 30, Koepka becomes just the fourth golfer since World War II to accomplish that feat, joining Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Jack Nicklaus.

2. Tommy Fleetwood (+2): It’s hard to nitpick a historic round (and new course record at Shinnecock Hills), but Fleetwood’s 63 could have been a 60 or 61. We will remember the putt on 18, but Fleetwood also had three or four really good birdie looks that didn’t fall during his charge up the leaderboard. The next step for Fleetwood is putting together four consistent rounds of this elite golf in a major championship.

3. Dustin Johnson (+3): The stats after two rounds hinted at potential unsustainable success on the greens and somewhat average, at least by D.J.’s standard, work off the tee and on his approach shots. The confidence he had been showing on the greens looked lost on Saturday and Sunday, as his putting will be the talking point of why the World No. 1 was not able to convert on his lead in 2018.

4. Patrick Reed (+4): The reality inside Reed’s mind — where he is the greatest golfer of all time and we just don’t get it — and the reality shared by the rest of the golf world moved a little bit closer together this week, where Reed burned hot on a 31 going out only to flame out with a 37 coming in for a fourth-place finish.

5. Tony Finau (+5): It was an electric afternoon with Finau on the course with moments of title contention and big jumps and slides on a very crowded leaderboard. Playing in the final group with Daniel Berger, Finau had five birdies, five bogeys and a double-bogey on No. 18 to notch his first top-five finish and third top-10 finish in a major championship.

Congratulations: Patrick Reed is the 2018 Masters Champion at August National

April 9, 2018

Congratulations: Patrick Reed is the 2018 Masters Champion at August National

Image result for Patrick Read Masters champion

What Patrick Reed lacks in widespread support should now be offset by widespread respect. The scale of Reed’s achievement here, in winning his first major championship, is illustrated by who and what he had to withstand.

There were occasional, understandable wobbles but Reed ultimately held firm to prevail by a shot; 69, 66, 67, 71 and 15 under par sealed Green Jacket delivery by one from Rickie Fowler.

It seemed remarkable in context that Reed’s previous Masters record included two missed cuts, a share of 49th and a tie for 22nd. Now, an individual once kicked out of a Georgia college has been afforded the last laugh. Others scoffed when Reed proclaimed himself a top-five player. He won’t achieve that ranking position with this win but such details are unlikely to bother Reed now. He is deservedly the Masters champion.

Image result for Patrick Read Masters champion

The identities of Reed’s biggest threats was the main fourth-round surprise. The Texan started Sunday believing he would have to see off a former Ryder Cup rival. Instead, US team-mates threw the strongest punches.

Jordan Spieth began the final day nine shots adrift of the lead. What subsequently transpired came within the realms of the finest closing round in Augusta history. Spieth briefly tied Reed’s lead; the cracking of a tree branch at the last halted the 2015 champion’s charge. Spieth’s 64 and minus 13 total proved in vain.

“All in all it was a great day,” said a magnanimous Spieth. “I was nine back, going out I knew I needed significant help no matter how well I played.”

Fowler was next to emerge from the pack, with a birdie at the last meaning Reed had no margin for error. Reed feared he had pulled a drive which found the left side of the fairway. A mid iron into two-putt range followed, as did typical celebration. Given what expectancy had come before, the denouement felt like an anticlimax; which is credit to Reed’s steeliness under the most intense of pressure. Fowler is worthy of credit for making sure he was outside the scoring hut to congratulate the champion. “I left it all out there, I made him earn it,” said Fowler.

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Rory McIlroy’s bid to complete a grand slam will have to wait for at least another 51 weeks. Just when he needed it most, McIlroy’s putter was to prove colder than a December morning in Siberia. His Sunday shortcomings can be linked only to that scenario, with confidence visibly draining from a player who was so in control of his emotions for 54 holes.

The Northern Irishman missed from 4ft for an eagle at the 2nd in what was a jarring indicator of woes to come. McIlroy didn’t recover confidence or touch on the greens thereafter; his 74 meant nine under plus a share of fifth with Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Cameron Smith. The 28-year-old McIlroy cut a disconsolate figure when walking from the 72nd green. This one will sting.

Jon Rahm earned fourth at 11 under, with the Spaniard’s visible annoyance at that scenario telling in respect of competitive instinct. A major win appears close for Rahm.

Paul Casey, who started day four in the nether regions of the scoring table, briefly flirted with history. The Englishman was nine under par through 15 holes; raising the prospect of equalling the Masters record score of 63. As often transpires in these scenarios, a jab was delivered by reality. Casey bogeyed each of his last two holes for a 65 and aggregate of five under.

“That was fun, wasn’t it?” said Casey. “Birdie, birdie, eagle on Amen Corner, I’m going to remember that for a long time.

“I’m obviously disappointed. I got out of position horribly on 17 and 18 which was kind of reminiscent of how I played this week. I haven’t been very good until that streak today. But to shoot 65 today, it would have been hard to turn that down. And it was fun; I know 63 is the course record, 62 is the lowest ever in a major. So I was aware. Not particularly nervous, just kind of having a good time and obviously didn’t do it, but it was fun.”

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As this major hurtled towards its end, the fevered anticipation attached to Tiger Woods’s involvement felt like an eternity ago. Woods had set a Sunday target of returning to even par on aggregate having started at plus four. He did precisely that before an untimely bogey at the last, with a 69 most notable for a stunning Woods eagle at the 15th. In recognition of that, Woods will take home some crystal goblets as opposed to the Green Jacket, which was never really a viable target. The 42-year-old, typically, was vague on where and when he will next appear in a tournament environment.

“Generally after this tournament I put away the clubs for a while,” Woods said. “I usually take three to four weeks off – throughout my entire career – and usually the clubs are put in the closet and I just kind of get away for a while. The run-up to this event is pretty hard and pretty gruelling. I pushed myself pretty hard to get ready.

“So I’ll take a little time off, get back in the gym and start working on my body again. I’ll get it in good shape and get back at it again.

“It’s disappointing that I didn’t hit the ball well enough this week. But to be able to just be out here competing again, if you had said that last year at this particular time I would have said you’re crazy. I had a hard time just sitting or walking back then. So now to be able to play and compete and hit the ball the way I did, that’s quite a big change from last year.”

Twelve months ago, Reed didn’t even feature on Masters weekend having signed for rounds of 76 and 77. What’s the opposite of horses for courses?