Despite the disappointment of crashing on the final day at the US Masters, Cameron Smith has plenty of time to win a cherished major title.
The Queenslander, 28, is young for a golfer, and his marvellous touch around the greens will take him a long way in the game.
Smith was going strongly, only three shots behind world No.1 Scottie Scheffler, when he became another victim of the notorious Amen Corner at Augusta National.
His triple bogey on the 12th dropped him back to four under and he lost another shot on the 14th, but consecutive birdies on the 15th and 16th enabled him to finish equal third with Shane Lowry on five under.
Smith won the unofficial fifth major, the Players' Championship, last month, and he is, without doubt, one of the world's best golfers.
In a drama-packed finale, Rory McIlroy equalled the best final round in Masters history, posting an eight-under 64 to finish second, but the coveted green jacket deservedly went to Scheffler.
The other highlight of the tournament was the return of five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods after being out of the game for more than a year recovering from a serious car crash.
It was small steps for Woods, having narrowly made the cut and finishing 47th, 13 over par, after shooting consecutive 78s in the final two rounds.
But he was just happy to be back on the golf course and setting himself for more tournaments later this year.
Michael Long's heartfelt plea to his nephew Cyril Rioli has shed fresh light on the four-time Hawthorn premiership star's circumstances and state of mind.
The Essendon legend revealed Rioli had not been in contact with family and friends for several years and implored that he seek professional help to deal with his problems.
It is always sad to see a champion become estranged from his club and it appears the three-time All-Australian's issues are far more insidious than an angry reaction to a remark made in jest by Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett about wife Shannyn's ripped designer jeans at Launceston Airport four years ago.
Rioli, 32, has become distant from his closest Hawks teammates, including Jarryd Roughead and Paul Puopolo and even fellow Indigenous champion Shaun Burgoyne has been unable to contact him recently.
During his celebrated AFL career, Rioli's spectacular style was worshipped by the Hawthorn faithful, who would be hopeful this imbroglio can be resolved quickly and the 2015 Norm Smith Medallist can return for premiership reunions and other events.
Before the season even began, there were serious questions about West Coast's fate in 2022.
The Eagles seemed to be hurtling towards the bottom of the ladder with premiership stars such as Shannon Hurn and Josh Kennedy nearing the end of their decorated careers.
After being winless in the first three rounds and being in a chaotic state because of the savage effects of COVID-19, compounded by an already long injury list, the dire predictions appeared to be vindicated.
But the Eagles have been a strong organisation for many years and their renowned character and resilience was starkly demonstrated in a fighting win on the road against a revitalised Collingwood. With talented and experienced players, including Luke Shuey, Elliot Yeo, Tim Kelly, Dom Sheed, Andrew Gaff and Jamie Cripps on the sidelines, West Coast managed to find a way to open its account this season at the expense of the wasteful Magpies.
Rubbing salt into the wound for Collingwood was the injury to the luckless Jamie Elliott's left shoulder, which may sideline the luckless forward for up to three months.
The Magpies are a more formidable and dangerous forward set-up with Elliott in the team and his absence will leave a big hole.
As Erin Phillips celebrates a third AFLW premiership victory in six seasons, she faces one of the toughest decisions in her successful sporting career.
Playing AFLW for Adelaide has fulfilled a childhood dream for the star basketballer, but Phillips, 36, maintains a huge emotional attachment to crosstown rival Port Adelaide.
She may stay with the Adelaide Crows or there is speculation she will quit the AFLW and go to the United States, enabling her wife Tracey and their three children to spend more time with family.
But Phillips' father, Greg, was a champion Port Adelaide defender and one of the club's greatest players, so the temptation to play for the Power when they join the competition next season could prove irresistible.
If the Grand Final was her last game as a Crow, she can be proud of making another solid contribution, finishing with 17 disposals, four clearances and a goal.
While it was a joyous occasion for Phillips and her teammates in front of their home crowd, it was devastating for the vanquished Melbourne and its captain Daisy Pearce. In what might be her last game before a likely move into coaching, Pearce tried desperately in vain to lift her team.
The Grand Final capped off another year of growth in AFLW and women's football, with Brisbane midfielder Emily Bates completing a clean sweep of the major individual honours this season and Mimi Hill becoming the second Carlton player to win the women's Rising Star award.
Has Howard got it right? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @hpkotton59
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