Peter Oosterhuis was at Augusta yesterday in his role as a TV analyst and, like every Briton, was willing on Lee Westwood to end the drought.
Rather generously, he declined to tell his countryman of the time he stood in golf's most intense spotlight. Oosterhuis was the last Englishman to hold the Masters lead after three rounds – Nick Faldo, you will recall, won all his three Green Jackets coming from behind.
"In 1973, I was leading by three after the third round and feeling really good," he recalls. "The trouble was I wasn't leading by the time I teed off. Tommy Aaron had birdied the first three holes. Later on, I bogeyed the 15th and that cost me. Tom shot a 68, I shot a 74 and finished third. It was the closest I ever came here."
Oosty's career was doomed to be a list of what-could-have-beens.
"In 1978 I had the chance to win the Open at St Andrews," says the 61-year-old. "On the last day I was in the final group with Tom Watson. I shot 38 on the back nine to finish three back of Jack [Nicklaus]. That was my best opportunity. Again, close but no cigar."
Chandler keen to fill major void
It was not just Westwood seeking his first major here last night, but Chubby Chandler. The larger-than-life agent has many of the game's big names on his books, but as of yesterday not one of the big titles. Never mind Westwood, the burly Boltonian oversees Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy and a host of South African talent including Charl Schwartzel. With all that talent at his disposal, his void was one of the sport's most baffling mysteries. Chandler also manages many of the 2005 England cricketing heroes, including Andrew Flintoff, Michael Vaughan and Steve Harmison. The last-named was here watching Westwood on Saturday and was so taken by the experience he changed his flights to stay on for yesterday's finale. "It's the best sporting event I've ever been to," said Vaughan, presumably including the Ashes. "Lee's a close friend of mine and I wasn't going to miss him going out in the lead."
Is Tiger the most over-scrutinised man in sport?
Tiger Woods has been accused of many things but at least two of them are not true. On Saturday, he was accused by various media outlets of "swearing" and, worse, of "a profanity-laden outburst". What Woods, in fact, said after a poor shot on the sixth was, "Tiger Woods, you suck Godammit". Where's the profanity in that? He was also reported to have been involved in an altercation with a fan before his round. Didn't happen. The incident was merely him pointing a finger in jest at an NFL player he knows.Reuse content