Tiger Woods Masters Tracker: Hole-By-Hole Updates For Tiger's Augusta Return

World No 1 Dustin Johnson meanwhile will play alongside Justin Rose and Rafa Cabrera-Bello

Woods' Augusta return may be dominating the headlines, but it was another former victor of the green jacket, Vijay Singh, who made the initial running. "And then, when you put it at kind of the biggest stage in our sport, I think that creates that anticipation".

Major champions like Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are learning what veterans Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els went through for years. Three-time champion Phil Mickelson has a realistic opportunity for another Green Jacket, as well, after breaking a almost five-year winless streak with a WGC-Mexico Championship a month ago. I love the golf course. Maybe I would witness greatness in other players, maybe at the same caliber as Tiger, but I'd never see that in him in my lifetime.

Fred Ridley, the new chairman of Augusta National and the Masters, offered similar sentiments at his news conference Wednesday.

"Definitely Tiger", Chris Neubauer, a 31-year-old construction manager from San Diego, said when asked who he was watching most closely in the opening round. The next year, he added a PGA Championship to his resume.

His long time fans will be back in his rat pack on the course, roaring over his every swing, chip and putt.

Woods (42) finished a shot behind England's Paul Casey in the Valspar Championship and was in contention for a record ninth win in the Arnold Palmer Invitational until hooking his tee shot out of bounds on the 16th in the final round.

"I come here with one goal, and that is to win the tournament", McIlroy said.

The opening hole was just the first of 72 at the tournament, but after holding their breath after his tee shot, Tiger fans around the world could exhale when he came back to start the day even.

"I think they just missed my sharp needle", Woods said.

The man of the moment, however, was Woods who was making an Augusta National homecoming of sorts in his first Masters since 2015. He's pain-free, and his clubhead speed of 129 miles per hour was the fastest on the PGA Tour through mid-March.

Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen are the only players to complete the grand slam so far, but Nicklaus believes McIlroy has already prevailed in the three hardest majors to win.

Instead, his 6-iron second shot from 206 yards landed on the green but spun off the putting surface and down the severe slope that fronts it and back into the water. He's broken par in each of his past 10 rounds.

"I think that's what makes Sergio really special".

Both personal issues and injuries have taken their toll on the legendary golfer, yet it's testament to his status that he is still whipping up so much intrigue in 2018. But that's normal for him early at the Masters.

"I have four rounds to play", he said. Past year he had won three straight tournaments coming into Augusta and was an odds-on favorite.

Number 10, Jordan Spieth- It's unbelievable to think people are overlooking this stone-cold killer on the golf course.

Woods complimented Parziale's game, and said nice things to a Masters representative about his caddie father after the round. They wind up talking about Tiger more than themselves, which has to be disconcerting to the new guys who've never experienced the phenomenon. Three-time Masters champ Phil Mickelson goes off at 1:27 p.m. ET.

A big win at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February 2017 followed soon after their engagement and Garcia arrived at the Masters in good form and a strong frame of mind.

"I'm an avid fan of the history of the game, and I know a win here and what that would mean and where that would put me in history alongside some of the greatest that have ever played this game, and that would mean an terrible lot to me", McIlroy said. "If you do that enough times, hopefully that score on Sunday evening's the lowest out of all the competitors that are here and you walk away with something that you'll have for the rest of your life".

Sergio Garcia is looking to retain his title after storming to victory previous year, pipping Justin Rose to victory.



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