Woods, McIlroy cool in Masters glare

Annette Crawford
April 14, 2019

(The lone exception was 2013.) But with the Houston Open pushed to the fall and the Valero Texas Open sliding into the pre-Masters spot, Mickelson opted instead for some extra work at Augusta National.

An Augusta National victory by the revitalised McIlroy would make the world No.3 just the sixth golfer to complete a career grand slam.

That means the purse for the champion is the same sum as defending champion Patrick Reed received after his impressive final round performance previous year.

Now, having played for over a year without any real issues with his back, the target is for Woods to try and win another major with more expectation this time around.

"I think he's trending in that direction and I don't think it's just The Masters this year, Pebble Beach he has dominated around there in the past and he's also won around BethPage (PGA Championship)".

"It proved to me that I could win again", Woods said of his Tour Championship victory.

"No matter what the issue is, you know, we can always look back and say we could do better".

"It was incredible to see, and I think that it adds to the allure of Augusta National and the Masters tournament, and I think what they have done for women's golf is a huge step in the right direction". "And I would never rule him out".

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'm excited to be grouped with Woods".

Inclusion in golf's ultra elite club alongside Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Nicklaus and Woods would convey greatness, but Augusta has become McIlroy's semi nemesis.

And this year, that emphatically includes Woods, who carries not just the hope he had last year - in his first Masters since spinal fusion surgery - but real belief that he can claim a fifth green jacket.

And the four-time major victor has revealed how meditation, juggling and a wide variety of reading material helped him end a number of final-day failures and triumph at Sawgrass. "I'm definitely going to fatten everyone up", he said.

He came extremely close to winning his 15th major at both the PGA Championship and The Open a year ago, only to fall short on the final day in both tournaments.

Woods and McIlroy enter the 83rd Masters, which starts on Thursday, among the favourites to win from 87 players in the field.

The Masters is a different kettle of fish but what a sensational story it would be if he was to stand alone at the summit come Sunday... "I've already made those decisions on how I'm going to play". The final group of the day, meanwhile, includes 2015 Masters victor Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and England's Paul Casey. I think that gets in my own way sometimes - or at least it has the past couple years.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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