Fleetwood excited to play with Woods at Augusta

Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood is relishing the chance to play alongside Tiger Woods but insists his focus will be entirely on his own game at the Masters Tournament.

Woods makes his eagerly-anticipated return to Major Championship golf at Augusta National for the first time since the 2015 US PGA Championship after missing the vast bulk of the last two seasons with back trouble.

A lower-back fusion procedure has him pain-free and swinging the club freely again and after two recent top-fives on the US PGA Tour, he enters this week as one of the favourites to claim a fifth Green Jacket and first Major since the US Open in 2008.

Fleetwood, 27, admits his first real Masters experience was watching the American romp to the first of his 14 Major victories in 1997, and he is hoping to learn from the man 15 years his senior.

“The first real Masters I watched was 1997, when he won his first,” he said. “A few years on and I get to play with him and I don’t think you can get a better draw than Tiger at the Masters, especially with what’s going on in golf at the moment.

“All that said, I’m only bothered about me. Whatever he does is not my problem, I’ve got to get on with my own stuff. But it doesn’t get much better than that. It’s very cool.

“He was in his pomp when I was growing up. There was something about this week where I thought to myself, for some reason, I’m going to get Tiger Woods this week.

“I walked to the putting green at about 11 o’clock today and it was the biggest mass of people you could see imagine around here, just to see him and Phil (Mickelson) walking off the 18th green so you get an idea of how busy it’s going to be.

“As well as concentrating on my stuff I’ll get to watch him up close and see what he does and there’s nothing better than that.”

Fleetwood missed the cut in his first ever Masters last season in weather that saw the par three tournament cancelled but was glad to see the layout in all its glory on Tuesday.

And while entering as Europe’s Number One will bring heightened expectations, he insists he is not putting too much prressure on himself to provide a third consecutive European winner.

As well as concentrating on my stuff I’ll get to watch him up close and see what he does and there’s nothing better than that – Tommy Fleetwood

“My game feels good at the moment. I feel like I’ve been preparing for quite a while,” he said.

“My first Masters was last year and I didn’t see too much sunshine so it’s nice to see the course without a cloud in the sky and with the shadows. It’s nice to have that buzz around it. It’s been lovely so far.

“It was terrible weather last year and two of the practice days got cancelled so it’s nice to be playing here in the sun. I feel like my prep has been good and my game has been good in practice. I feel like I’ve done all the right things so far this week.

“It would be lovely to have a run of it at the end of the week but I’m not putting too much expectation on myself. It’s great to be playing, obviously, and I do want to be in there with a chance at the end of the week but the more expectation you put on yourself the more pressure that adds so I’ll be trying my best to take it one shot at a time.”