Tiger Woods does 'everything well' to match best Masters start

Slow starts but fast finishes. That has been the recipe for success for Tiger Woods at Augusta National, as six Masters successes illustrate.

Tiger Woods talks tactics with caddie Joe LaCava during the first round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. Picture: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Tiger Woods talks tactics with caddie Joe LaCava during the first round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. Picture: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

In 22 appearances in the event, he’d opened with a score in the 60s just once, shooting a 68 in 2010. Make that two after he signed for the same score to start his 23rd edition.This one was bogey-free - the first time he’d achieved that in the opening round of this major. It was the first time he’d managed that in any of the majors since the 2009 US PGA Championship.Nineteen months after his sensational win here, the 15-time major champion arguably made the best start out of any of the main likely contenders.“I did everything well,” said Woods as he reflected on a satisfying day’s work, having birdied the 13th, 15th and 16th on his front nine before adding another gain at the first.“I drove it well, hit my irons well, putted well. The only real bad shot I hit today was I think 8. I had a perfect number with a 60 degree sand wedge and I hit it on the wrong shelf. Other than that, I just did everything well.

“The only thing I could say is that I wish I could have made a couple more putts. I missed everything on the high side.”

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The 44-year-old partly put that down to the surface having been softened up when the course was hit by a thunderstorm that led to a three-hour delay.

“I got off to a fast start today, which is good, but I think everyone is,” he added. “Everyone is going low out there today. With these conditions, you have to. You have to be aggressive. There's no reason why you can't fire at a lot of the flags.”

Woods, who said he’d missed the “roars” in an event being played behind closed doors due to COVID-19 restrictions, came into this event on the back of no form whatsoever this season. That doesn’t seem to matter when he turns up here.

“I think that understanding how to play this golf course is so important,” he said. “I've been lucky enough to have so many practice rounds throughout my career with so many past champions.

“And I was able to win this event early in my career and build myself up for the understanding that I'm going to come here each and every year.

“Understanding how to play it is a big factor, and it's one of the reasons why early in my career that I saw Jack [Nicklaus] contending a lot, I saw Raymond [Floyd] contending late in his career, now Bernhard [Langer] and Freddy [Couples] always contend here late in their careers.”

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