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Meet the journalism legend who tackled Tiger Woods, Michelle Smith and prefers losers to winners

Paul Kimmage


Michael Bamberger waits for character to reveal itself, and often discovers it more in defeat

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Michael Bamberger: ‘What would reveal Tiger’s character more in that scenario? Okay, so he made a bogey (on 18) and won by one. Let’s say he makes a double on 18 and loses the play-off. Then we would have really seen something.’

Michael Bamberger: ‘What would reveal Tiger’s character more in that scenario? Okay, so he made a bogey (on 18) and won by one. Let’s say he makes a double on 18 and loses the play-off. Then we would have really seen something.’

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Michael Bamberger: ‘What would reveal Tiger’s character more in that scenario? Okay, so he made a bogey (on 18) and won by one. Let’s say he makes a double on 18 and loses the play-off. Then we would have really seen something.’

On a Thursday morning in April 1997, four days before Tiger Woods won his first Masters, Jimmy Davy walked into the Media Centre at Augusta National, ambled up the steps to a seat in the fifth row and threw the latest edition of the world's most venerated sports magazine onto his desk.

"Ah see Sports Illustrated have discovered that athletes are doing drugs," he snorted, in a thick southern drawl.

The cover, an impressively muscular bicep being pierced by a syringe, carried a bold headline 'Bigger, Stronger, Faster: Don't Be Fooled. Athletes of All Kinds Are Still Using Drugs to Improve Performance - And They're Getting Away With It'. It was set in a curious lime-green hue, which might have been a nod to the subheadline: 'Irish Gold Medalist Michelle Smith: Did She or Didn't She?'