Wednesday marked the 66th anniversary of Roger Bannister's fabled sub four-minute mile.

Although sporting records are always there to be broken, some best marks will forever hold a special place.

Here, we look at some of the competitors whose defining performances will continue to echo through the ages.

 

ROGER BANNISTER

Helped by two pacemakers, Bannister thrilled crowds at Iffley Road, Oxford by clocking 3:59.4 for his four laps of the cinder track.

The record lasted only 46 days before Australia's John Landy shaved more than a second off Bannister's mark, while Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj is the current men's mile record holder with 3:43.13. But Bannister's name will always be associated with the distance more than any other.

NADIA COMANECI

Elite stars at the top of their sports will often contend there is no such thing as perfection in competition, although the great Comaneci can always beg to differ.

As a 14-year-old at the 1976 Olympics, the Romanian superstar became the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10 for her performance on the uneven bars. She went on to achieve the same mark six more times in becoming the youngest all-around Olympic gold medallist.

BOB BEAMON

Before the long jump final at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, no man had jumped beyond 28 feet. American favourite Beamon broke through that barrier and the 29-foot mark for good measure with a truly remarkable leap.

Beamon's 8.90 metres remained a world record until Mike Powell hit 8.95m during his titanic tussle with Carl Lewis at the 1991 World Championships.

JIM HINES

Another United States track and field star to revel amid the altitude of Mexico City in 1968 was sprinter Hines.

He took gold in the 100m final with a time of 9.95 seconds, making him the first man to dip below 10 seconds without illegal wind assistance.

PELE

Three World Cup wins as the shining star of Brazil's prolonged golden era mean Pele does not need statistics to burnish his considerable legend.

And yet, at the Maracana on November 19, 1969, the 29-year-old Pele slotted home a 78th-minute penalty for Santos against Vasco da Gama for his 1,000th career goal. Even allowing for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's phenomenal exploits, it is hard to envisage anyone ever matching the 'milesimo'.

ARSENAL

Arsene Wenger invited widespread derision in 2002 when he suggested it was possible for his Arsenal team to go a whole Premier League campaign unbeaten. The season after, they did just that.

Preston North End had their own "Invincibles" back in 1888-89, although the First Division season was a mere 18 games long in those Victorian times. Formidable Manchester City and Liverpool sides falling short of Arsenal's unbeaten exploits in recent seasons have only underlined the scale of the achievement Wenger masterminded.

BRIAN LARA

West Indies great Lara made the biggest individual score in Test history when he plundered a mammoth 375 versus England in 1994 – a record that stood until October 2003, when Australia opener Matthew Hayden hit a merciless 380 at Zimbabwe's expense.

Back at St John's against the same opponent as in his initial exploits, Lara took the record back into his ownership a mere 185 days after Hayden's heroics, bringing up 400 not out for the first quadruple century in cricket's longest format.

AL GEIBERGER

Golf's modern era is increasingly littered with players hitting hot streaks and low scores but going below 60 for a round still holds considerable allure.

It was a different time in 1977 when Geiberger became the first player to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour, illuminating the second round of the Memphis Classic at Colonial Country Club. No one managed the feat again on a major tour for 14 years.

Luke Donald has been confirmed as a vice-captain for Europe after Padraig Harrington let slip the Englishman will be part of his team for this year's Ryder Cup.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a suspension of the global golfing calendar, leading to uncertainty over whether the 2020 Ryder Cup, which is due to take place at Whistling Straits in September, will go ahead as planned.

However, Harrington is planning for the event to take place as scheduled, with Sweden's Robert Karlsson already confirmed as one of his assistants.

Europe's captain accidently revealed Donald will be working with the team too, though stopped short of naming him in full while appearing on The Golf Show on Sky Sports on Tuesday.

"I had a phone call with Luke... I nearly said the word there, possibly did say the word there... one of my vice-captains yesterday," he said.

Donald later tweeted "I thought this was meant to be a secret", to which Harrington replied: "Sorry about that. News was too good to keep under wraps! Welcome to the team."

Team Europe later announced the appointment officially on social media.

Harrington also said that while players do not want the Ryder Cup to take place behind closed doors, they may need to "take one for the team" so it can be broadcast for an audience eager for sporting action.

"It's an option that nobody wants to take, and the players don't want it, but we might have to take one for the world team of sport and put an event on that people can watch," he said. 

"It wouldn't be the same for us, obviously, but it's sport on TV that we're all craving. If we see any live sport right now, we'd all be sitting at home watching it."

Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson are to team up to take on Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in a $3million charity skins event, which will mark the return of televised golf.

The TaylorMade Driving Relief is to take place at the Seminole Golf Club in Florida and will raise money for the American Nurses Foundation and CDC Foundation.

A further $1m for a birdies-and-eagles pool has been pledged by Farmers Insurance to benefit Off Their Plate, which aids COVID-19 healthcare workers.

The exhibition will be the first televised golf since the coronavirus pandemic brought the 2020 season to a halt at the Players Championship in March.

A PGA Tour statement added: "The competition will follow strict CDC social distancing guidelines, local mandates and will utilise appropriate testing measures to help protect the health and safety of the golfers, production crew and others on site”. No spectators will be allowed to attend.

"It's been difficult to witness what so many are enduring over the last several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic," McIlroy said in a statement published on golfchannel.com. 

"I hope that we can provide some respite and entertainment for those tuning in across the globe. 

"Dustin and I will have a lot of fun together and our games will fit well as we push to raise funds and awareness on May 17."

McIlroy and Johnson will represent the American Nurses Foundation, while Fowler and Wolff are to play for the CDC Foundation.

The PGA Tour is scheduled to return with the Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club in Texas in the second week of June without fans in attendance.

Rory McIlroy was in flying form before the coronavirus pandemic brought the PGA and European Tours to a halt.

Since missing the cut at his home Open Championship at Royal Portrush, McIlroy recorded an astonishing 12 top-10 finishes in 14 starts, including victories at the Tour Championship and HSBC Champions.

That form saw McIlroy once again ascend to the summit of the world rankings and the four-time major winner will have been as frustrated as anyone to see the season suspended due to the global health crisis.

McIlroy turned 31 on Monday and now seems as good a time as any to reflect on his career achievements, and some goals to work towards in the future.

RECORD-BREAKING MAJOR WINS

Major season started in heart-breaking fashion for McIlroy in 2011 as an infamous final-round meltdown at the Masters saw him squander a four-shot lead to finish in a tie for 15th. In a show of his strength of character, McIlroy bounced back in remarkable fashion two months later to win a first major at the U.S. Open at Congressional. His eight-shot triumph was the biggest margin of victory in the tournament's history, while his 16 under was a record for strokes under par (a feat then matched by Brooks Koepka in 2017). A little over a year later, McIlroy was setting more benchmarks at the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. An eight-shot victory bested Jack Nicklaus' previous mark of seven.

DOUBLING UP IN GLORIOUS 2014

The following six majors proved frustrating for McIlroy. However, a first Claret Jug arrived in style with a wire-to-wire victory at the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool – a two-shot triumph a little skewed by so many of the chasing pack making the most of placid Sunday conditions. A month later, McIlroy showed impressed nerve as a partisan crowd roared on the charges of Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler to win a second PGA Championship by one shot at Valhalla. In doing so, McIlroy became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2008 to win three straight starts on the PGA Tour.

PRIZES GALORE ON PGA AND EUROPEAN TOUR

McIlroy has enjoyed plenty of success besides majors, of course. He has 27 professional career victories to his name, including at the Players Championship, three World Golf Championships events and five in FedEx Cup playoff tournaments. He has won the European Tour's prestigious Race to Dubai three times (2012, 2014 and 2015) and also become FedEx Cup champion on the PGA Tour twice (2016 and 2019). Also, on three occasions McIlroy has been named PGA Tour Player of the Year (2012, 2014 and 2019), and European Tour Golfer of the Year (2012, 2014 and 2015).

And here are some objectives for McIlroy to focus on…

FINALLY WIN THE MASTERS

While McIlroy's agonising 80 on that fateful Sunday at the 2011 Masters was tough to watch at the time, it seemed a mere blip in what would be a successful quest to win a green jacket. And yet, eight subsequent visits to Augusta National have failed to yield a win (albeit there were five top-10 finishes between 2014 and 2018). McIlroy has made no secret of his desire to win the Masters and a player with his outrageous talent must surely get one eventually, right? It is the missing piece in a career Grand Slam and winning the Masters will remain McIlroy's main goal.

AVENGE PORTRUSH DISAPPOINTMENT

The 148th Open was a particularly important one for McIlroy, given it was hosted at Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland, for the first time in 68 years. All eyes were on the local hero who started as pre-tournament favourite, but a nightmare opening round (including a quadruple-bogey eight on the first hole, a double-bogey five on the 16th, and a triple-bogey seven on the 18th) saw him sign for an eight-over 79. A second-day fightback saw him recover to two over, yet he still missed the cut by a solitary stroke. An emotional McIlroy admitted "it is going to hurt for a little bit", but – even saving for the postponement of the 2020 Open due to the coronavirus pandemic – McIlroy will have plenty of opportunities to win more Claret Jugs, plus the success of the 2019 tournament at Portrush means he will likely have another shot at glory on home soil in the future.

WIN OLYMPICS GOLD

McIlroy was pretty brutal about golf's return to the Olympics four years ago in Brazil. Speaking prior to the 2016 Open, McIlroy - who like several of his contemporaries opted not to play in Rio due to the threat of the Zika virus - said he would watch "the stuff that matters" at the Games. McIlroy later said he was "glad to be proven somewhat wrong" about the success of golf at the Olympics and a year ago declared his intention to represent Ireland at Tokyo 2020. Of course, the coronavirus has also pushed those Games back to 2021, but going for gold is surely a renewed aim for McIlroy.

Marc Leishman is braced for a "very different" Masters, while the PGA Tour star is still dreaming of winning gold for Australia at the Olympic Games.

The Masters – originally scheduled for April – was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and organisers have identified November 9-15 as the intended dates to stage the rescheduled major at Augusta.

World number 15 Leishman has twice finished in the top 10 of the iconic Masters – his best result tied for fourth in 2013 in Georgia.

Asked about a November Masters, five-time PGA Tour champion Leishman told Stats Perform: "The greens are usually firmer in November. I have a friend who is a member there and he has always tried to get me to go there in November.

"I guess the course is as good if not better in November than it is in April. Very different, there will be different grasses, different winds, flowers won't be blooming.

"It will be extremely different but hopefully we can play that with crowds and get that atmosphere because that's one of the best things about the tournament."

The rescheduled Masters will form part of a condensed PGA Tour schedule – consisting of 36 events instead of the original 49 – due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has wreaked havoc on sport across the world.

The PGA Tour is planning for tournaments to resume behind closed doors in the second week of June after a number of events had to either be postponed or called off since mid-March in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The US PGA Championship, originally scheduled for May, has been pushed back to August, prior to the Tour's season-ending tournaments that comprise the FedEx Cup play-offs.

In September, three months after it had initially been due to begin, the U.S. Open will take place in New York, before the Ryder Cup gets underway two days later, while The Open has been cancelled.

Leishman, who claimed January's Farmers Insurance Open, earned top-three finishes at the Safeway Open (third) and Arnold Palmer Invitational (second) to be seventh in the FedEx Cup standings following a fast start prior to golf's suspension.

"Having this big spell, it will probably be two, three months before it's over, so I guess it will be easy to come back and try play everything just because we haven't been doing anything," Leishman said when asked how he will approach the jam-packed schedule.

"But I'm still going to try to play my normal schedule, which will probably be reasonably light, just so I'm fresh for the run at the end of the year – the PGA, the play-offs etc. It's flat out and hopefully there will be a trip to Australia in there as well. As long as everything gets back in order and we can travel, it will be hectic but a good hectic."

The coronavirus pandemic also forced the Olympic Games to be postponed until 2021 – Tokyo 2020 had initially been scheduled to start in July this year.

But Leishman – who grew up in the Victorian town of Warrnambool and represented the International team during December's Presidents Cup against the United States in Melbourne – is still eyeing a gold medal in Japan.

"I was really looking forward to that this year," the 36-year-old added. "I was in a good spot to be on the team. I'd love to be there to represent Australia. I was unable to be there last time [the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro]. The priority for me is to go and win a gold medal for Australia."

Marc Leishman is raring to go for the PGA Tour's return, though the Australian star admits playing without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic will be "very weird".

COVID-19 has brought sport to a standstill globally, with the PGA Tour forced to either postpone or call off a number of events since mid-March in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The PGA Tour is planning for tournaments to resume behind closed doors in the second week of June.

Leishman was in fine form before golf was suspended, with the world number 15 claiming his fifth Tour title via January's Farmers Insurance Open. He also earned top-three finishes at the Safeway Open (third) and Arnold Palmer Invitational (second) to be seventh in the FedEx Cup standings.

"I would've loved to have kept playing, with the way I was playing. I was playing great golf and enjoying it," Leishman, who was part of the International team which almost clinched an historic Presidents Cup win over the United States in Melbourne in December, told Stats Perform. "I haven't had an offseason for about 12 years, so I'm looking at that as a positive.

"Getting off to a really fast start, it's nice that when and if we do come back, I won't have to really push hard to get back to the top of the list – I'm already there, in the that top 10. The pressure will be off.

"Obviously I'd prefer it not to be happening but definitely looking at it as a positive, rather than dwell on the bad stuff because there's a lot of bad stuff at the moment."

Playing in front of an empty gallery is unprecedented, especially for superstars like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, and Leishman believes the pair could struggle without fans in attendance.

"It will be very weird," Leishman said. "It will be weirder for some than others, I'll be about in the middle somewhere. The guys like Tiger, Rory, Brooks [Koepka] etc that play in front of huge crowds every time they're out on Tour, it's going to be quite difficult for them.

"Then me, I'm about 70-30 in front of big crowds and very small crowds, so it will be all about trying to manage energy and get the focus up without having fans there to help."

While the Masters has been pushed back to November, the Open Championship was cancelled for 2020 – a particular blow for Leishman, whose best major performance was tied for second at the iconic event in 2015.

Asked if he had earmarked The Open as his best chance for a major breakthrough this year, Leishman – a two-time top-10 Masters performer – said: "Probably that. All the majors this year, well, I wouldn't say the U.S. Open – that would've been last on the list because the course. Not really up my alley.

"Harding Park, San Francisco [US PGA Championship], the Masters, then The Open. Those three events I would say. The Open is such a big event and an event that I love. I really enjoy playing that type of golf. That would've been my best chance, but I'll have to wait until next year now."

In the meantime, Leishman is enjoying a prolonged period at home with his family in Virginia Beach, where the 36-year-old has established his own putting green thanks to a burning-off method in the United States.

"It's different. I'm not used to being home this long, so that's very different. The golf courses are still open here. I think I've played three times in the last five weeks. So not much at all. Trying to take the positives out of it. Enjoying the offseason and the time at home with family.

"I'd be able to go [to the course] every day if I wanted to, but I don't think it's the smartest thing to do. It's okay if you go there and no one comes near you, but a lot of the time people want photos and I find it hard to say no. That's hard for me. I've been trying to stay away and chill at home."

"Obviously, I wouldn't do it in Australia because it could get out of control," Leishman said with a smile when asked about burning his grass. "But here it's a bit different. It goes completely dormant in the winter, so if I was to bag it up and take it away, it would probably be about 100 big bags of grass. So it saves my back a lot. It's controlled, it can't go anywhere. It's not like it's dry, it's a real slow burn. It's pretty amusing actually."

Rory McIlroy would prefer the Ryder Cup be postponed until 2021 than played without fans this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Whistling Straits is set to host the event in September, just days after the rescheduled U.S. Open.

The PGA Tour is planning to resume without fans in attendance in June as COVID-19 continues to impact sport around the world.

Northern Irishman McIlroy said he would rather the Ryder Cup be postponed until next year than played with no fans present.

"I get the financial implications for everyone involved … but having a Ryder Cup without fans, it's not a Ryder Cup," he said during an Instagram Live with TaylorMade on Tuesday.

"For me, I would much rather them delay it until 2021 to play the Ryder Cup than play it at Whistling Straits without fans.

"That's from a European, going to America, knowing that I'm going to get abuse. Obviously it would be better for Europeans to play without fans because we wouldn't deal with some of the stuff that you have to put up with, but at the same time it's not a Ryder Cup. It wouldn't be a great spectacle, there'd be no atmosphere.

"If it came to whether they had to choose between not playing the Ryder Cup or playing it without fans, I would say just delay it for a year and play it in '21."

The 2022 Ryder Cup is scheduled to be held in Italy, which has been one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19 with more than 24,600 deaths.

McIlroy said pushing back this year's event could also give Italy more time to prepare.

"If they do delay it until '21 the next Ryder Cup is supposed to be in Italy and we know how affected Italy was with coronavirus and COVID-19 so it gives that country an extra year to prepare for the Ryder Cup in '23 instead of in '22," he said.

Rafa Cabrera Bello is hanging on to hopes of making another Ryder Cup appearance this year.

The Spaniard achieved an unbeaten debut four years ago, taking one and a half points in tandem with compatriot Sergio Garcia before scoring a singles win over Jimmy Walker.

Victory went to the United States by a thumping 17-11 margin at Hazeltine, but it gave Cabrera Bello a taste for the competition that he hoped to enjoy again.

He sat 17th on the European points table before the 2020 season ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, needing a strong run to press a claim for selection.

This year's Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits is inevitably in some doubt due to uncertainty over when sport can resume, but golf's elite cannot allow their focus to completely slide.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Cabrera Bello said: "My goals at the beginning of the season when this wasn't planned was to qualify for the Ryder [Cup], for the Olympics, keep progressing in the world rankings, win tournaments, and those goals haven't changed."

He stressed priorities were changing and health was paramount, with the aim of returning "to normality or to the new normality as soon as possible".

"If I qualify for the Ryder Cup, I will of course play it," Cabrera Bello said. "And the U.S. Open, as a major, it is my intention to play it as well. I am at the disposal of the captain of the Ryder Cup. If he thinks I am the best complement for the team I will be there with the best possible spirit."

European skipper Padraig Harrington is sure to be monitoring the likes of 35-year-old Cabrera Bello, who is ranked 46th in the world and tied for fourth at the 2017 Open Championship.

A three-time winner on the European Tour, Cabrera Bello is a reluctant Florida resident at present.

His regular home is in Dubai, but Cabrera Bello elected to stay in the United States at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak due to concerns he would not be allowed to re-enter the country for the Masters.

The Augusta event was soon postponed, however, and is set to be played in November.

"If I had known that this stoppage was going to be so long, we wouldn't have considered remaining here," Cabrera Bello said.

"But at that stage the information was limited and the suggested suspension was going to last only three weeks and the Masters was still going to be announced.

"There already started being flight restrictions to Europe, so it worried us to go to Europe and not being able to come back or go to Dubai, where I live with my family, and not being able to return for the Masters because we had to pass a quarantine.

"So we decided to remain here and then the Masters was postponed.

"By then, Europe was in a delicate situation with an imminent quarantine and Dubai was not allowing entrance, not even to the residents, so we decided to stay here and we are in this process now."

At least he has a welcome distraction, after he and wife Sofia became parents last August to a daughter, Alva.

"I am doing maintenance work at the moment so my [golf] swing doesn't get rusty," he said.

"The rest of the routine is to stay at home, spend time together, enjoy our baby who is eight months old now. It is marvellous, playing with her every day and seeing her grow. It is the best thing in the world. Inside this difficult situation, to be able to spend time with my daughter makes it way more manageable."

A November Masters brings "pros and cons" for Rory McIlroy in his bid to finally win a green jacket, according to Padraig Harrington.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the PGA and European Tours to a halt and meant the Masters, traditionally golf's curtain-raiser in major season, could not take place over Easter weekend.

Instead, Augusta National is slated to play host in November and McIlroy – who has five top-10 finishes at the Masters and led by four shots heading into the final round in 2011 before a final-day implosion – said this week he believes a change in the schedule could play to his favour.

"I always feel there's this bit of anticipation going into Augusta, the first big event of the year. There's all this hype. I don't think it will feel like that this year, it will feel different but it's something I'm looking forward to," McIlroy told Michelle Wie on an Instagram Live with Nike Golf.

"It's going to be a different Masters this year but personally, maybe selfishly, that's what I need to get the jacket."

Since missing the cut at his home Open at Royal Portrush last July, McIlroy has recorded an outstanding 12 top-10 finishes from 14 tournaments, including wins at the Tour Championship and WGC-HSBC Champions.

That form saw him return to the summit of the world rankings and Harrington feels that while some of the pressure that always greets McIlroy at Augusta may be reduced by the rescheduling, the halt to his momentum and renewed focus from golf-starved rivals could count against him.

"Yeah, it's possible [a November Masters might benefit McIlroy]," Harrington told Stats Perform. 

"There're pros and cons. He was in tremendous form right now so I'm sure he'd like to go out and play, he was in great form. 

"Like any player you believe the form will stay with you, with Rory it's more than likely. 

"Yes, it would take some of the stress away - it's the last major. There are positive and negatives to it. 

"I think a lot of people will have good attitudes on the golf course by the time it comes to November, they'll be delighted to be out playing golf. 

"His competition could be stronger basically. They won't have overplayed, they'll be fresh, they'll be wanting to be out there, mentally they'll be positive, any opportunity to play golf is a good thing. 

"While Rory might be stronger, I think other people might be stronger too. You'll see some good golf played when we're back out on the golf course because the mental side is such a big thing to it, players will be so relieved to be back out."

United States president Donald Trump said he is "tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old" as he eyes the return of sport following the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 has brought sport to a standstill around the world – the NBA, NHL, MLS, PGA Tour and NASCAR seasons were among those suspended, while the start of the MLB campaign was pushed back and there are concerns over the NFL.

The Olympic Games have been postponed until 2021, as well as Euro 2020 and the Copa America due to coronavirus, which has killed more than 126,500 people globally and over 26,000 in the US.

Addressing COVID-19 and sport on Tuesday, Trump told reporters: "In sports – we want to get our sports back, so importantly.

"We have to get our sports back. I'm tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old. But I haven't actually had too much time to watch.

"I would say maybe I watch one batter, and then I get back to work."

Trump also revealed an advisory group that will work to help reopen the US economy.

The group includes NBA commissioner Adam Silver, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, UFC president Dana White, WWE's Vince McMahon, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

Tiger Woods' sensational triumph at the 2019 Masters is proof he can surpass Jack Nicklaus' record major haul, but it would be nice if he finished his career tied with the 'Golden Bear', says Padraig Harrington.

A year ago, Woods ended a painful 11-year wait to once again win one of golf's big four tournaments when he overcame a two-shot deficit at the start of round four to secure a fifth green jacket.

It was Woods' 15th major victory, but now aged 44, time is running out for him to overhaul Nicklaus' benchmark of 18.

However, Harrington – a three-time major winner and Europe's next Ryder Cup captain – labelled Woods as the greatest ever and thinks he can still achieve the feat, even though he would love to see the two legends share the record.

"There's no doubt it was a great moment for golf, I was amazed by the style he did it in," Harrington told Stats Perform.

"I always thought he was going to win another major, now I actually think he can get to the 18 or 19.

"At the time before that I was thinking Tiger is good enough to get himself in contention, he'll be having a good week and when he's there the old Tiger will come back and he'll make a few birdies, a bit like Nicklaus winning the Masters in '86, and other guys will fall away.

"I just didn't think he'd win it the way he did - Tiger dominated that last round, the players ran away from him like it was the Tiger of old, it was a surprise to me.

"I knew Tiger could win another major, but I thought he'd win it like everyone else, get in the right position and one or two things happen at the end, but this was a dominant performance.

"It's different to what I expected, it showed he was in control, it wasn't circumstances. The likelihood is he could do that again and that's why I think now he can win another three majors.

"I'd personally like him to win another three, not four. It would be nice if he tied with Jack. I think Jack was great for the game.

"I personally think Tiger is the best player ever, I never got to play with Jack in his prime so I don't necessarily want him to beat such a legend, a tie would be very nice in my eyes, so let's hope he gets another three."

This year's Masters was postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and is now slated to take place in November.

Woods' history of back injuries is well documented, and Harrington says only he will know if the extra time will be good for him physically.

"I think at the moment Tiger was struggling, his injuries do seem to be there, there's a lot of ups and downs in his injuries," Harrington added.

"In November he could be just as injured or he could be much better, we're never quite 100 ,per cent sure.

"He would have been trying to compete for Augusta, Tiger tends to get these things right too, so you'd think he'd be getting right and getting his back ready for Augusta.

"Another six months would be good for his back, or I think it would be. He's six months older, I don't know really. Tiger's really the only one who can tell if this is positive or negative in terms of how he feels his physical state will be.

"It's funny, we're talking mental state for everyone else and it's Tiger's physical state we're thinking of.

"But look, everybody will make the most of their opportunity when they get there, I don't see it making a huge difference. If you're serious about winning Augusta, you're going to be preparing for that April week, now you're going to be preparing for November."

Rory McIlroy believes the Masters being rearranged to take place in November could be just what he needs to end his long wait for a green jacket.

The world number one needs a victory at Augusta National to complete a career Grand Slam, having already won the U.S. Open and The Open, plus the US PGA Championship twice.

McIlroy has had five top-10 finishes at the Masters and famously led by four ahead of the final round in 2011, only for a last-day meltdown to end his hopes of glory.

This year's bid to win at Augusta has been held up by the coronavirus pandemic, with the Masters having originally been scheduled to take place over Easter weekend. Instead, the tournament is slated to take place November 12-15, a move McIlroy feels could play in his favour.

Speaking to Michelle Wie on an Instagram Live with Nike Golf, McIlroy said: "The Masters means so much. 

"Obviously it's the last major for me to win but putting that aside, it is such a special place, so many great memories already. Any time you get to play at Augusta is a lot of fun.

"November is going to be different, very cold, the course could play very long. It plays long already but it can play very long. The greens may not be as fast as in April, depending on the moisture.

"I think it will be a different feel, it's at the back end of the year. Two of the majors have already been played, hopefully the Ryder Cup's already been played. People will be in their routine and in the flow a little bit more.

"I always feel there's this bit of anticipation going into Augusta, the first big event of the year. There's all this hype. I don't think it will feel like that this year, it will feel different but it's something I'm looking forward to.

"It's going to be a different Masters this year but personally, maybe selfishly, that's what I need to get the jacket."

The coronavirus outbreak has wreaked havoc on the golf calendar, with The Open having been cancelled and the Ryder Cup's status remaining unclear.

As things stand, the Ryder Cup is going ahead. McIlroy said playing in the biennial tournament is an altogether different pressure to the majors.

"You're not just playing for yourself, you're playing for your team-mates, you're playing for your country, you're playing for a lot of different people," he added.

"Pressure at the Ryder Cup is different. I think if you look at people who have performed well in Ryder Cups before they went on to win majors, I think it's a good precursor.

"I think for us, that the Ryder Cup is the biggest and most intense atmosphere you can play under. If you can handle that, you can handle being in contention at the majors."

Monday marks the 34th anniversary of Jack Nicklaus' 18th and final major championship victory.

A stunning Masters triumph on April 13, 1986 saw the Golden Bear, who was 46 at the time, add a sixth success at Augusta to his five US PGA Championship titles, four U.S. Open wins and three Open Championship crowns.

Tiger Woods - last year's memorable Masters champion - has since closed to within three of Nicklaus' benchmark, but the latter remains golf's most prolific major champion.

We take a look at how Nicklaus amassed a tally that has still yet to be surpassed.

 

1962 U.S. Open

Nicklaus finished second in the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills as an amateur. When he played the tournament as a professional for the first time two years later, after nine major appearances outside the paid ranks, the then-22-year-old secured glory.

Arnold Palmer – an established superstar in the prime of his career – had edged out the youngster at Cherry Hills, but Nicklaus held his nerve at Oakmont to prevail in an 18-hole play-off after the pair had finished regulation play level on one under.

Palmer was the big crowd favourite in the play-off, but Nicklaus stormed into an early lead before seeing off a trademark charge from his rival to become the youngest U.S. Open winner since Bobby Jones in 1923.

1963 Masters

Having seen off Palmer to earn his maiden major, Nicklaus shaded another all-time great on his way to the first of six Masters triumphs.

A month shy of his 51st birthday, Sam Snead moved into the final-day lead with back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15, but two late bogeys followed for the veteran and Nicklaus – who had surged into contention with a second-round 66 after opening with a 74 - took advantage.

Gains at the 13th and 16th lifted Nicklaus to a winning score of two under, two clear of Snead and Julius Boros and one ahead of Tony Lema, who birdied the last to claim sole second.

1963 US PGA Championship

Still only 23, Nicklaus prevailed in stifling heat at Dallas Athletic Club to grab his second major of 1963 and become only the third player to win the Masters and US PGA in the same year.

Three behind Bruce Crampton with 18 holes to play, the Ohio native defied temperatures of over 100 degrees Celsius on the final day to shoot 68 and win by two from Dave Ragan.

1965 Masters

Nicklaus' first three major successes all came via narrow margins, but that certainly was not the case at Augusta in 1965 as he recorded a record-breaking triumph.

Tied for the lead at halfway with Palmer and Gary Player, Nicklaus surged clear with a course-record-equalling 64 and ultimately finished an astonishing nine strokes clear at 17 under, having totally overpowered the course.

His 72-hole total of 271 and winning margin both stood as records until 1997, when Tiger Woods claimed a 12-shot victory with a score of 270.

1966 Masters

Twelve months later, Nicklaus became the first man to successfully retain the Masters, a feat since accomplished by Nick Faldo and Woods. However, his success came in a week of personal heartbreak.

Shortly before beginning his opening round, Nicklaus learned that close childhood friend Bob Barton had been among four people killed in a plane crash en route to Augusta.

"This tragedy has made me much more determined in what I hope to do this week," said the Golden Bear, who duly beat Tommy Jacobs and Gay Brewer in an 18-hole Monday play-off after the trio had all finished on 288.

1966 Open Championship

Only five men have completed a career Grand Slam of modern-day major wins. Nicklaus was only 26 when he became the fourth, following in the footsteps of Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Player.

A one-shot victory at Muirfield – at the expense of Doug Sanders and Dave Thomas – enabled Nicklaus to lift the Claret Jug for the first time. He did so despite shooting 75 in round three, with a two-under aggregate ultimately enough to earn glory on a course that featured plenty of punishing rough.

1967 U.S. Open

Another record fell to Nicklaus at Baltusrol in 1967, where his winning score of 275 represented a new U.S. Open best.

Amateur Marty Fleckman was the shock 54-hole leader but he faced daunting task on the final day with Nicklaus, Palmer and Billy Casper only one shot back.

The rank outsider slumped out of contention with a closing 80 and Casper (72) also faded as Nicklaus again got the better of Palmer, shooting 65 to his playing partner's 69 for a four-shot victory.

1970 Open Championship

Nicklaus' second Open win – after a barren spell spanning three years - is remembered more for the painful experience of runner-up Sanders.

Second to Nicklaus in the same event four years earlier, Sanders needed only to par the relatively simple 18th at St Andrews to claim his first major.

However, he famously backed away from a three-footer for the win, having seemingly been distracted by something on the line of his putt, and then saw his ball slip agonisingly past the hole.

The Open's first 18-hole play-off followed and Sanders was given renewed hope when he cut Nicklaus' lead from four to one with a solitary hole to play before playing the last superbly. The American provided a clinical finish, though, draining an eight-foot birdie putt before throwing his putter into the air in jubilation.

1971 US PGA Championship

Victory in the 1971 US PGA ensured Nicklaus became the first player to win each major twice.

He went wire-to-wire at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida, finishing two clear of Casper at seven under despite a one-over 73 in the final round.

1972 Masters

The following April, Nicklaus again led after every round of a major as he triumphed in the Masters for the fourth time.

He failed to break par in each of the final two rounds, but scores of 73 and 74 were more than enough for a three-shot success at two under, with no other player ending the week in red figures.

1972 U.S. Open

Legendary sportswriter and author Dan Jenkins provided the most fitting description of Nicklaus' final-round performance at Pebble Beach, which saw him defy brutal conditions to make it two wins from as many major championships in 1972.

After Nicklaus had prevailed by three strokes with a two-over aggregate, Jenkins wrote in Sports Illustrated: "On the last day, Sunday, when a ripping wind produced the ultimate horrors, only Nicklaus could summon the patience and the game to cope with the place. It seemed he had saved his best golf for the final round, when the course and the elements almost eliminated golfing skills in more normal men. And while that closing 74 of his for the funny old total of 290 will not look so dazzling in the record books one day, it should be stated here and now that under the circumstances it was as brilliant as any man ever shot."

Jack's hopes of winning all four majors in the calendar year were duly dashed in The Open at Muirfield, where he was the runner-up to Lee Trevino.

1973 US PGA Championship

History was made at Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, Ohio as Nicklaus - playing in his home state - surpassed Walter Hagen's record of 11 professional major victories with his 12th title.

A second successive 68 on Saturday lifted him to the top of the leaderboard and he finished four clear of Crampton, who had also been a runner-up to Nicklaus in the 1972 Masters and U.S. Open.

As the game's dominant player chalked up yet another victory, another golfing great, Snead, produced a remarkable performance at the age of 61, shooting even-par 71s in every round to tie for ninth. Incredibly, he had finished fourth the previous year and would go on to share third in 1974. 

1975 Masters

Nicklaus was five ahead after 36 holes at Augusta in 1975, but entered the final round trailing Tom Weiskopf by one after shooting 73 on Saturday.

A thrilling finale ensued on Sunday, with Nicklaus just about holding off Weiskopf and a charging Johnny Miller to secure his fifth green jacket. A closing 68 was just enough to seal victory on 12 under, with Weiskopf and Miller, who shot 66, both missing makeable putts on the 18th to force a play-off.

1975 US PGA Championship

Poor old Crampton had to settle for a fourth second-placed finish in a major behind Nicklaus as the latter claimed another US PGA crown in Ohio.

At Firestone Country Club in Akron, Nicklaus opened up a four-shot lead through the third round and a closing 71 kept him two clear of Crampton at four under. Weiskopf, one under for 72 holes, was the only other player to break par.

1978 Open Championship

Nicklaus' consistency in The Open was truly astonishing. From 1966 to 1980, he reeled off 15 top-six finishes in a row at golf's oldest major, with six of his seven runner-up placings achieved during this period.

His final victory came at the same place as his previous triumph, St Andrews, as he completed a third career Grand Slam.

A year on from the magical 'Duel in the Sun', where he was edged out by Tom Watson at Turnberry following a captivating battle, Nicklaus entered the final round of the 1978 Open one adrift of the defending champion.

However, Watson swiftly slumped out of contention and Nicklaus was able to taste victory once more, a 69 taking him to seven under and a two-shot triumph.

1980 U.S. Open

Nicklaus was viewed by some as a spent force by the time the 1980 U.S. Open rolled round, having gone almost two years without a PGA Tour win - comfortably the longest barren streak of his career at that point.

Aged 40, he showed there was still plenty left in the tank at Baltusrol.

Both Nicklaus and Weiskopf began the tournament with record-equalling rounds of 63. Weiskopf soon fell away, but Nicklaus prevailed with a tournament scoring record of 272.

The rejuvenated champion had been joined at the top of the leaderboard by Japan's Isao Aoki in round three, but he was not to be denied a 16th major crown.

1980 PGA Championship

Two months later, Nicklaus extended his record with a 17th title and fifth US PGA win. What is more, he did so in dominant fashion.

No other player could break par at Oak Hill, but Nicklaus was on another level as he carded scores of 70, 69, 66 and 69 to end the week seven clear at six under.

His margin of victory remained a record at the PGA until Rory McIlroy triumphed by eight shots in 2012.

1986 Masters

The most famous and unlikely triumph of the set came 34 years ago when Nicklaus thrilled Augusta with a sensational Sunday charge.

Four behind overnight leader Greg Norman heading into the final round, the 46-year-old surged to victory in barely believable style, playing the final 10 holes in seven under to shoot 65.

Nicklaus' memorable birdie at the last triggered an unforgettable putter-raising celebration and ensured he finished one ahead of Norman and Tom Kite at nine under. Seve Ballesteros, who had looked a clear favourite little more than an hour earlier, was a shot further back in fourth.

With the 2020 Masters postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, we have drawn from the well of the tournament's rich history to produce something unique.

From its inception in 1934 right up to last year's stunning triumph for Tiger Woods, this major has always delivered the goods.

While the Augusta course may lie dormant for now, echoes of a glorious past still ring around its verdant fairways and greens.

Using daily leaderboards from a selection of the most memorable editions of the event, we have created a Fantasy Masters.

And here is how a thrilling final round went down...

 

Jordan Spieth (2015) edged out Tiger Woods (1997) on the second play-off hole to win the Fantasy Masters following a thrilling tussle between the two American young guns.

The pair, both just 21, went out in the final group at Augusta as Spieth started Sunday's round with a one-stroke lead over Woods and Raymond Floyd (1976).

Spieth headed to the 18th eyeing a record low score, having become the first player to reach 19 under, but he fluffed his lines with a bogey as Woods capitalised to record a par and force his rival into a play-off.

After both sunk nerveless pars, Spieth stepped it up a gear on the 10th, draining a birdie putt to earn the green jacket following a wire-to-wire triumph.

Spieth racked up a record 28 birdies, finishing an aggregate 12 under on the par fives to underline his clinical brilliance.

Floyd came mighty close to making it a three-way title tussle but, after birdies at 12 and 15, he could not find another gain to force the issue.

Another home hope left to rue a missed opportunity was Patrick Reed (2018), whose 71 was his worst round of the week as he closed on 15 under.

Spain's Seve Ballesteros (1980) squandered an even better chance. Having got to 16 under at the turn following a fine front-nine 33, he ended up signing for an even-par 72 to finish five strokes off the pace.

Ben Crenshaw (1995), a winner here in 1984, took fifth place ahead of Ballesteros and Fred Couples (1992) with a 68.

At the wrong end of the leaderboard, Nick Faldo (1996), Arnold Palmer (1964) and Angel Cabrera (2009) ended on 12 under.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

Jordan Spieth: "It's the most incredible week of my life. This is as great as it gets in our sport. I'm still kind of shock a little bit."

LEADERBOARD

Jordan Spieth (2015) -18 (won on second play-off hole)

Tiger Woods (1997) -18

Raymond Floyd (1976) -17

Patrick Reed (2018) -15

Ben Crenshaw (1995) -14

Seve Ballesteros (1980) -13

Fred Couples (1992) -13

Angel Cabrera (2009) -12

Arnold Palmer (1964) -12

Nick Faldo (1996) -12

*Play-off result determined by average score, rounded to nearest whole number, on 18th and 10th holes across all four rounds

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