Watson hails return of Tiger to top
Tom Watson believes Tiger Woods' return to form will help 'attract young people to the game'.
Woods struggled with injuries for a number of years but impressed in 2018 as he won the Tour Championship and was in contention to add to his 14 major titles at both The Open, where he finished in a tie for sixth, and at The PGA Championship as he came in second.
Watson, an eight-time major winner, believes there are other stars in the game but feels the fact Woods is a contender again has provided golf with a boost - although he still has concerns over the amateur side of the sport.
“I think right now the professional game is in a great state,” says Watson, 69, in an interview published by Golf Australia. “We have young players as the stars and they attract young people to the game. And then we have Tiger Woods coming back, which will help.
“But, on the other side, the amateur game is struggling. In 2007, participation fell in the US, partly due to economic reasons. Although figures have started to rise here again in the last two years, we are still recovering from that.
“I think a big mistake was when we eliminated the caddy programmes where the kids would earn some cash and be inspired to play the game. I’ve now started a programme called Clubs for Kids, where for one day I give them a club and try to teach them a few things to get them started. We all have to do what we can to help the game grow.”
Gareth Freeman is an experienced journalist who can offer in-depth knowledge on a host of sports, especially football, tennis, snooker and basketball.