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It’s typically been stated the Masters doesn’t often begin till the again 9 in Sunday’s last spherical. This 12 months, it really began on the again 9 on the Sunday earlier than the beginning of the match.
When Tiger Woods performed the again 9 final Sunday, that was a transparent sign the Treasure Coast resident was planning on enjoying in his twenty fourth Masters.
Woods, his son Charlie and buddy Justin Thomas had taken Woods’ non-public airplane final week to play Augusta Nationwide for the primary time since his inconceivable win in 2019. For Woods to return once more Sunday – he even introduced this journey on social media to cease the plane-trackers from breaking the information – was proof Woods was once more going to defy the chances.
Positive sufficient, just a little after 11 a.m. Tuesday, after enjoying 9 holes every of the final two days, Woods confirmed his intentions to reporters throughout his pre-tournament press convention: “As of proper now, I really feel like I’m going to play. As of proper now.”
Discuss an early Christmas present for golf followers.
It has been nearly 1,100 days since Woods left Augusta Nationwide bathed within the cheers of his adoring followers after profitable his fifth inexperienced jacket at 43. Woods has spent greater than 400 days recovering from a near-fatal automotive crash that just about value him his proper leg and confined him to a hospital mattress for 3 months.
Woods’ rapid targets after the crash had been to have the ability to sometime get up and take a couple of steps. Now he’s strolling greater than 7 miles a day on one of the crucial undulating programs on this planet, hitting 300-yard drives and displaying the nerve to hit wedges off the tightest lies within the sport.
The one one that can high Tiger Woods’ superb story is Tiger Woods. He’s performed it so many instances.
However at 46? 1 / 4 century faraway from his historic, 12-shot victory in 1997? Fourteen months faraway from a near-death accident?
This isn’t a ceremonial gesture. When requested Tuesday if he believes he can win a sixth Masters this week, Woods didn’t hesitate.
“I do,” he stated. “I wouldn’t be right here if I didn’t assume I might win. You guys know me higher than that.”
Simply making it to Augusta Nationwide the second weekend in April hasn’t been a simple feat for Woods currently – the Martin County resident has missed 4 of the final eight Masters resulting from accidents.
Neither is he anticipating to depart earlier than the weekend. He has missed the lower simply as soon as in 23 profession begins.
The Masters was form sufficient to present Woods early-late tee instances of 10:34 a.m. Thursday and 1:41 p.m. Friday, permitting him extra restoration time after the primary spherical. Woods is enjoying alongside Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann the primary two rounds.
Few gamers would try and play the Masters with out having performed in an official PGA Tour occasion in 17 months. Woods isn’t an abnormal participant.
Since his first win in ’97, Woods’ cumulative rating of -113 underneath par is 50 strokes higher than his nearest competitor, Phil Mickelson (-63), who isn’t enjoying this week.
I had the nice fortune to attend the 2019 Masters as a “patron,” due to my good buddy Tim Rosaforte giving me badges for Friday and Saturday.
It was a surreal week. I unexpectedly acquired a badge to attend Thursday’s first spherical. I arrived on the course in time to see Woods play one gap – he bogeyed the seventeenth and was 4 again after a 70.
I didn’t care. Not less than I bought to see Woods play within the Masters. I knew I might not less than see him play Friday’s spherical in its entirety. Woods shot 68 and was only a shot behind 5 gamers.
A 67 on Saturday saved Woods inside two pictures of chief Francesco Molinari getting into the ultimate spherical. Including to the drama, tee instances had been moved up 4 hours earlier Sunday due to a storm anticipated to hit Augusta Nationwide early within the afternoon.
The early-morning begin – the leaders went off at 9:20 a.m. — didn’t tamper the festive temper of the patrons. We had been there to look at historical past, and Tiger didn’t disappoint.
Woods moved right into a tie for the lead when Molinari hit a ball into Rae’s Creek at No. 12. Woods moved forward when he birdied the par-5 fifteenth and gave himself a cushion with one other birdie at No. 16.
The place was going loopy. Strangers had been high-fiving one another as Woods moved to the highest of the leaderboard. With the two-shot lead, Woods performed for a bogey on the ultimate gap, lastly ending an 11-year winless streak within the majors.
I by no means thought I might see something prefer it once more. I used to be flawed. What Woods has completed by simply attending to the primary tee on Thursday is unimaginable.
Woods single-handedly has energized this Masters, drawing the biggest gallery ever seen throughout a Monday follow spherical. He has as soon as once more overshadowed the sphere simply by displaying up.
All of us knew the match Woods used for his comeback can be helped tremendously. It’s becoming it’s the Masters.
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