Best Finish: Tiger Woods

 

Back in January, in faraway Thailand, the European Tour's first event of the year witnessed Tiger Woods on the prowl. He started the final round eight shots behind pace-setter Ernie Els, but a concluding 65 enabled him to draw level with the South African on nine-under-par 279 - and Woods then took the Johnnie Walker Classic title at the second tie hole.

"It was really amazing what Tiger did," remarked Els of a feat that has been bettered only twice in European Tour history; by Neil Coles in 1977 when he came from 10 behind to win the Players' Championship that year, and by Jamie Spence who matched that 10-shot comeback with a closing 60 in the European Masters six years ago.

Wearing his customary red shirt on the final day (what his mother refers to as "his power colour"), Woods performed his audacious act just a week before the Chinese "Year of the Tiger" was due to commence. After opening the tournament with a level par 72, Woods had refused to attend the postround press conference but, incredibly, on Friday, after shooting a 71 in the second round to lie 11 shots behind the leaders, Woods was asked who would win the tournament. He responded with one word. "Me."

He was to act out his prophecy with a stunning final round that firstly enabled him to catch up on Els and, then, to beat him in a play-off.