AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) The roar sounded like Sunday at Augusta National.
This is Monday afternoon, and it was so sudden and thunderous that it reached the clubhouse. It was loud enough to startle spectators who wondered what they had missed. That they had a pretty good idea who it was.
Tiger Woods is back at the Masters.
Woods teed off with Justin Thomas and Fred Couples shortly before 3 p. m. when thousands of fans were making their way toward the exit. Thousands more crowded around the tee, lined the first fairway and followed him down the par-5 second hole. Some of them rushed over to the third hole to stake out a spot. Most of them surrounded the next green, and they were responsible for all of the noise when Woods chipped in from behind the green.
About the only thing missing was a beam of light from the heavens.
Any discuss this being one of the most anticipated Masters in years starts with 1 player. Woods is at Augusta Nationwide for the first time since 2015, at least together with his golf clubs, and he showed during the Fl swing of the PGA Tour which he is more than capable of winning the fifth green jacket.
” When Tiger walked on to the range today, you can tell there’ s an anticipation and a good excitement from the crowd to watch your pet compete again, ” Justin Rose said.
Woods had been at Augusta National last year just for the Champions Dinner, and it wasn’ t much fun. If the pain in the lower back wasn’ t enough, it had been looking out at the course he enjoys and knowing that he wouldn’ big t be playing the major he phone calls a ” players’ heaven” for your second straight year, and maybe never ever.
Fusion surgery – his fourth on his lower back within four years – followed a couple weeks later.
And now this looks as though he never still left.
Woods still hasn’ t won a tournament within the five PGA Tour events he’s played this year, but he has photo par or better in his final 10 rounds. He was runner-up by one shot at the Valspar Championship. He was one photo out of the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational until indecision sent their tee shot on the 16th gap out of bounds.
He hasn’ t won the Masters considering that 2005, so long ago that just 18 players from then are usually in the field this year, and 15 of these are Masters champions.
” You hear guys talk about the first 2000s and that intimidation factor, ” said Rickie Fowler , who made their major championship debut 10 years back at Torrey Pines, where Hardwoods won his 14th and final major. ” The young men in a way have heard about that. I believe they’ re getting to see a few of that as far as his presence plus him being out on the course and getting a glimpse of exactly what he’ s capable of. But I believe we relish the opportunity to play towards him and see him back to probably close to where he was. ”
Monday is typically a sluggish practice round at the Masters, that has only 87 players competing this season. Most players have been to Augusta National over the last few weeks to get familiar with any subtle changes and remember sight lines. That’ s the particular heavy work, followed by a light download in the practice rounds this week to save energy.
So it had been unusual to see so many people, so past due in the afternoon, chasing after Woods.
He is not an one-man display when it comes to slipping on the green coat. Rose badly wants one, specifically after missing a short par putt on the 17th hole and shedding in a playoff last year. So really does Jason Day time , who still hasn’ capital t watched the 2013 highlights whenever he lost a two-shot prospect with three holes to play plus saw Adam Scott become the 1st Australian to win the Experts.
Rory McIlroy is going for that career Grand Slam. It’ ersus a long list of contenders, typical of a sports activity that is getting deeper with skill each year.
But when considering star power, collectively they don’ t match the impact associated with Woods. That much was evident by size of the galleries and the surge in the television ratings when he or she was on or near the leaderboard on Sunday during three Fl tournaments.
” I believe when it comes to Tiger and the Tigermania that is included with it, everyone wants to see him earn and play the way he do before, ” Day said. ” Everyone is kind of champing at the little bit for him to kind of arrive here and see how he’ s shifting and everything. I think everyone is type of solely focused on Tiger and what he’ s going to do here plus seeing if he can get to Number 15. But that’ s good with us. That’ s fine beside me. ”
Day thinks it can only help him, McIlroy, Dustin Manley , Michael jordan Spieth and many others stay away from caught up in the hoopla and start trying to get into contention. And if Forest happens to be there on Sunday, after that no worries. Or maybe fewer worries.
” I think on our good day I’ ve obtained a good chance of beating him. We honestly believe that, ” Day stated. ” I think that there’ t 10, 20 other guys available that honestly believe they can defeat Tiger as well at his great day. … But there’ h going to be a buzz around Augusta this week with Tiger being within the grounds, and it’ s likely to be exciting to see. ”