Imagine Earl Woods choosing to put a baseball bat rather than a golf club into the hands of young Eldrick, his toddler son.

How different would golf be if Tiger Woods, who turns 40 on 30 December, had chosen to play something else?

As the ailing 14-time major champion struggles to swing a club again, he can celebrate this landmark birthday by reflecting that no-one has had a bigger impact on the game.
Would modern-day golf be as athletic or back in the Olympics without his influence? "I doubt it," European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke told the BBC.

"All sports progress, all sports move forward. Tennis has changed immensely as well over the years.

"But golf was somewhat slower to adapt to all that stuff. With all the technology we have now, fitness has become a huge part of it and I think Tiger led the way."

The 47-year-old Clarke has played most of his career with Woods as a great friend and rival.