Woods will be in mix for US Masters glory, insists Faldo

Woods will be in mix for US Masters glory, insists Faldo

Woods will be in mix for US Masters glory, insists Faldo

He drove the ball well to open Thursday's first round, but needed 11 puts through the first six holes.

And how better to do that than by helping popularize women's golf? McIlroy is pursuing the career Grand Slam this week; the Masters is the only major title he hasn't won. Will Poulter win? Naaaaah!

And, considering his history, who are we to argue? The tournament also has tighter parameters for on-screen sponsors, so brands that are shown on players' apparel and gear get a bigger boost.

20 Masters champions: Sergio Garcia (2017); Danny Willett (2016); Jordan Spieth (2015); Bubba Watson (2012, 2014); Adam Scott (2013); Charl Schwartzel (2011); Phil Mickelson (2004, 2006, 2010); Angel Cabrera (2009); Trevor Immelman (2008); Zach Johnson (2007); Tiger Woods (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005); Mike Weir (2003); Vijay Singh (2000); Mark O'Meara (1998); Jose Maria Olazabal (1994); Bernhard Langer (1993); Fred Couples (1992); Ian Woosnam (1991); Sandy Lyle (1988); and Larry Mize (1987).

Defending champion Sergio Garcia is back, two-time victor Bubba Watson is playing some of his best golf after a down year in 2017, and young stars like Jon Rahm, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele are looking to make their marks on this historic track of green. The inference is that the bookies have cleverly directed huge bets on a player who, on form, can not win. However, unlike in horse racing where the redoubtable Dick Francis has shown many ways to hobble a horse, it is not possible here. All of them can be had at 1,000-1 odds.

"I don't know what to tell you, " he said. And that was their last practice round at a tournament - until Tuesday. Back problems, personal problems and drug problems have combined to keep him mostly on the sidelines as a new generation of golfers has taken flight. He's very comfortable around this golf course, and his game is right there. However, he can not understand how his swing speed is easily north of 120mph and has even touched 129.

'As far as greatest comebacks, I think that one of the greatest comebacks in all of sport is the gentleman who won here, Mr (Ben) Hogan.

Woods can smash his tee shot at No. 8 and will have plenty of room to work with, even if his erratic tendencies come into play. Phil, at 47, is nearly twice Thomas's age and together with Tiger constitute the elder statesmen of the tour, still competing on the PGA tour. Armed with a game well-suited for courses such as Augusta National, don't be surprised if Woods wins the Masters, which would be his first major victory since 2008.

The fact Woods was even in the field was impressive considering it was only last September when he said he may never compete again as he was recovering from spinal fusion surgery. More exciting than 2015, when Jordan Spieth announced his presence at age 21, winning wire-to-wire?

"I'm just really looking forward to playing", Woods explained on his website.

One year later, so much has changed.

Since then, he's struggled both on and off the course with various injuries and surgeries, as well as a DUI previous year. That is a big setback because this course demands "learning" it year by year.

The crowds will be in for a full day of drama, with numerous late starters also expected to mount Masters challenges. These mental and muscle memories remain and come back to haunt one when they are least wanted. And for good reason: he's arguably the best player of all time and for a few years, virtually everyone thought his reign had ended for good. "He's probably playing better than anyone else". However if there's one thing I've learned in my career it's don't underestimate Tiger. It is good to dream of what could have. It is expected to be in the high 60s by the afternoon. "There's got to be some sort of certain part of my game that's got to be on, and hopefully this will be one of those weeks".

The Masters always throws up a drama, whether a comedy or tragedy.

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