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"Expect to contend? Yes, I do" | Woods bullish about Masters chances

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

20:41 10 Nov 2020

An emotional Tiger Woods says he intends to be more than just a ceremonial visitor to The Masters over the coming years.

The defending champion will play alongside Open Champion Shane Lowry and the amateur Andy Ogletree for this week's opening two rounds at Augusta.

Since slipping on the green jacket for a fifth time last year, the 44-year old's form has fallen off a cliff.

Once again Woods has struggled with his back, saying he's failed to put all the parts of his game together at once.

A tie for 9th at the Memorial in June of 2019 has been his best outing over the last 18-months.

For Woods, however, Augusta always brings a sliver of hope. And he's not prepared to settle into the old codger's role just yet.

"Expect to contend? Yes, I do," the 15-time Major-winner replied when asked if he can see himself challenging.

"Look at Freddie [Couples] and Bernhard [Langer] - they're in their sixties and they seem to contend.

"Jack [Nicklaus] contended here when he was 58? It can be done.

"This is a golf course in which having an understanding [of] how to play it, and where to miss it and how to miss the shots around here - it helps.

"The golf course keeps getting longer, so it gets a little bit more difficult as I've gotten older and I don't quite hit it as far.

"When I first came here it was a lot of drivers and a lot of wedges, now it's a little bit different. [You need] a little bit longer clubs into the holes.

"But still understanding how to play it definitely helps. And that's one of the reasons why you see past champions - like I did mention Freddie and Bernhard - to be able to contend later in their careers, and hopefully I'll be one of those guys.

While bullish about his chances this week, and in future years, it was last year's triumph that brought a quiver to Woods' lip.

His dramatic victory at Augusta still gives him chills.

"[The] feelings, coming up 18 and knowing that all I have to do is just two putt that little 15-footer and to see my family there and my Mom and my kids and all of the people that helped support me or were there for me in the tough times," he told his pre-tournament press conference.

"And I was walking up there trying not to lose it, and still saying, ‘hey, I’ve still got to two putt this’.

"I walked off the back of the green, to see [son] Charlie there, just opened up our arms, it meant a lot to me and still does,” he added on Tuesday.

"It just reminded me so much of me and my dad, and to come full circle like that, it stills gives me you know, a little teary."

GOLF WEEKLY | 2020 Masters Preview with Paul McGinley

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Augusta Masters Shane Lowry The Masters Tiger Woods US Masters

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