AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) Fault it on a generation that considers nothing was ever as excellent as what just happened.
Maybe it was a tough wintertime, and nothing melts frigid reminiscences like the sight of azaleas, dogwoods and Rae’ s Creek. This sure didn’ t hurt that most the best players, as young as 23-year-old Jon Rahm and ancient as 47-year-old Phil Mickelson , are winning tournaments plus hitting their stride.
The competition is so steep that 4 players have a chance to be Number 1 in the world.
” This is my 42nd Masters, ” club chairman Fred Ridley stated Wednesday. ” I have never already been a part of this week where there’ h been any more excitement. ”
But the real reason for all of the talk that this Masters might be the very best ever still comes down to one man: Tiger Woods .
In San Diego plus Los Angeles, in Tampa and Orlando, florida, fans flocked by the thousands whenever Woods returned to competition following a fourth back surgery and abruptly looked very much like a 14-time main champion capable of resuming his quest for the 18 majors won simply by Jack Nicklaus.
He or she was back to producing Sunday-sounding roars at the Masters by making eagles at the back nine. And those were simply practice rounds.
Forest had one word for all this particular buzz: whoa.
” I have four rounds to play, ” he said. ” So let’ s just kind of slow down. ”
No one knows buzz like Woods, especially at Augusta National. A generation ago, he previously a chance to become the first player to keep all four professional majors, and he noticed all about it for more than 7 months leading into the Masters. He or she beat two of his greatest rivals of 2001, Mickelson plus David Duval .
” It’ s the same thing, ” Woods stated. ” I’ ve got to move play and then let the chips drop where they may. And hopefully, We end up on top. But I’ ve got a lot of work to do among then and now. ”
Woods, who spent two days from Augusta National last week, has performed nine-hole practice rounds for three times leading to the first round Thursday. Fred Couples has been at his aspect for all of them, and he didn’ capital t see much different from 10 years back.
” It was quite awesome, ” Couples said.
Never mind that it continues to be 13 years since Woods final won the Masters. Just imagine.
This is the first major Forest has played since 2015. He or she doesn’ t know of anyone who has taken part at the highest level since blend surgery on the lumbar area of the back again, much less anyone who could generate 129 mph of club speed using the driver. Just 10 months, one of the most famous photo of him originated from a Florida jail after their arrest on a DUI charge coming from the wrong combination of prescription drugs.
It was one of the lower occasions in his life.
And today, Masters champion?
That’ s 4 long days away, assuming this individual makes it that far – Hardwoods has missed the cut in most major but the Masters – plus there are plenty of obstacles along the way. Woods continues to be gone for so long that he states it’ s been nearly 3 years since he putted on curved grass like that at Augusta Nationwide.
The bigger issue could be a dozen or more other contenders, all whom earned their share from the hype.
That listing includes Woods’ new practice-round companion – Mickelson – who is arriving off another World Golf Tournament title; Mickelson won the South america Championship to end the longest drought of his career.
The No . 1 player on the planet has not won the Masters considering that 2002 – it was Woods, obviously – a streak that Dustin Johnson would love to end. Johnson didn’ t get the chance last year right after he slipped down the stairs plus wrenched his back on the event of the Masters. Johnson began the entire year with an eight-shot victory at Kapalua. Rahm won two weeks later to maneuver closer to No . 1 in the world. Jason Day won the week from then on.
Bubba Watson , a two-time Experts champion, won at Riviera. Mr. bieber Thomas won the Honda Traditional with two clutch shots – a wedge and a 5-wood.
One of the two tournaments exactly where Woods contended on the back 9 was the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Rory McIlroy won with five birdies on his last six holes. The victory this week would put your pet in company with Woods simply by completing the career Grand Slam.
McIlroy knows what it’ s like to have so much interest. His first crack at the profession slam was in 2015. He has been 12 shots behind after 2 rounds.
” I actually felt like there was a lot of hype arriving off the two majors the summer prior to and world No . 1 plus going for the slam the first time. I actually felt that anticipation and that buzz, and I nearly built it up within my head a little bit too much, ” he or she said.
Maybe it can help McIlroy, Day and so many others due to the attention on Woods. Or maybe this doesn’ t matter.
Regardless of who’ s playing, Augusta National rarely disappoints when it comes to pleasure.
” I arrive here with one goal, which is to win the tournament, ” McIlroy said. ” And I’ m sure everyone that’ t playing this tournament has the exact same goals and objectives. If I’ m under the radar or not, this doesn’ t matter. I just require out and play good golfing. ”