Friday, 19 April, 2019

Can Tiger Woods still win the Masters at 43?

Rory Mc Ilroy during practice for the 2019 Masters Rory Mc Ilroy is the bookies' favourite to win The Masters Credit reuters
Cary Erickson | 14 April, 2019, 08:54

Just 87 players are competing this year at Augusta National, and you can break that number down further, excluding numerous past champions (seven are over 50) and the six amateurs, not to mention a collection of lower ranking or struggling tour professionals, and you're left with only around half the field who could genuinely claim victory, but even a fair bunch of them can be considered unlikely winners at best. Nicklaus himself predicted that Woods would win 10 green jackets on his way to obliterating Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships.

"It is my favorite tournament, and I am quite lucky to have the chance to play it", said Li, who has just completed a series of North American tournaments.

The Northern Irishman has been reading books on sports psychology of late, and credits a new mental attitude with his stellar start to the year.

Patrons at the Masters can easily find themselves walking the course alongside a member but they will be hard-pressed to get any of those wearing Green Jackets to open up about one of the more exclusive clubs on the planet.

"I can say I feel comfortable with that".

"Every time I come out here and practise, I pick up a little something here or there that I did not know on how to play a certain shot from a certain position to a certain pin". "My routine now consists of meditation, juggling and mind training, doing all the stuff to get you in the right place".

Tiger 1 shot off lead despite security guard scare
McIlroy played the par 5s in even - two bogeys, one par and an eagle on No. 8 that got him under par, but only briefly. Rory McIlroy's bid for the last leg of the career Grand Slam began with a 73, which featured six bogeys.

Tuesday's Champions Dinner is one, when the defending champion chooses the menu and hosts the previous winners in the clubhouse - Reed is serving bone-in ribeye steak and macaroni cheese as mains.

World number one Justin Rose and second-ranked Dustin Johnson will be aiming to bulk up resumes highlighted by one US Open win apiece and fourth-ranked Brooks Koepka, the reigning US Open and PGA Champion, has a chance to become the third golfer of the modern era to capture three of four consecutive majors. "I'm definitely going to fatten everyone up", he said.

The 2019 Masters Tournament begins on Thursday and runs through Sunday. "Compared to four, five, whatever years ago, yeah, I'm more ready than I've ever been", Fowler told reporters in the build-up to this year's Masters.

However, we're looking at some who could spring a minor surprise.

Thomas has never won the first major of the year, with his best result coming in 2018 as he finished in a tie for 17th. But a meltdown on the treacherous short 12th scuppered his bid for back-to-back titles. I think that gets in my own way sometimes - or at least it has the past couple years. "I've already made those decisions on how I'm going to play".

"It's electric. I've heard it and I've felt it and it's exciting to be part of", added Woods.