Woods, McIlroy cool in Masters glare

Aubrey Yates
April 14, 2019

He may be battling time, an ailing body and a raft of young guns inspired by his past heroics, but Tiger Woods is once again the talk of the town ahead of the 83rd Masters at Augusta this week.

From Magnolia Lane, a tree-lined drive that members use to enter the grounds, to Amen Corner, which may just be golf's most famous stretch of holes, Augusta National has become a place all golfers dream of seeing once before they die.

The 29-year-old has finished inside the top 10 on each of his last four starts and was in the last group in the final round 12 months ago, only to struggle to a closing 74 and end up six shots behind playing partner Patrick Reed. I put myself there with a chance to win the last two major championships of the year last year.

Li's results at the game's most prestigious tournaments have been a mixed bag to date, with a stunning third-place finish at the 2017 British Open and a tie for 16th at last year's US Open offset by a missed cut at the 2017 PGA Championship and a withdrawal during the second round of the same event last year.

"I can say I feel comfortable with that".

"I know that I'm close to winning quite a few times", he said.

"This is my 11th year here", the Northern Irishman added. Not thinking about the tee shot on Thursday or thinking about what is to come this week and that's something I probably will never stop trying to learn or to practice.

"I think it made us a better organisation", he said, although he refused to be drawn on whether the club erred in refusing to admit women members for so long.

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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.

Each of the last four winners - and seven of the last eight - have been first-time major winners, a trend Rahm certainly hopes to continue.

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

"To see the way he played the Open and the PGA Championship, greatness is still in him".

McIlroy needs a victory at Augusta National to join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in having claimed all four major titles. But by promoting women amateurs, the future stars of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, we'd like to think that that is something that's going to benefit them, as well, and I think that the LPGA would agree.

"I meditated for 20 minutes on the Sunday morning of the Players". I think that gets in my own way sometimes - or at least it has the past couple years.

Jordan Spieth, who won the first of his three major titles to date at the 2015 Masters, sits off the pace at +2200 on the Masters odds.

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