Tright here have been about 50,000 folks at Augusta Nationwide for the beginning of the Masters: followers, media, members, stewards, caddies, cooks, digital camera crew and all the opposite help employees, and day morning nearly each final one among them was asking the identical kind of query. A lot had come alongside to the first tee at 11am to seek out out the reply, too. The dogged ones had staked a front-row spot very first thing that morning. Everybody else was craning their necks and popping up on their tiptoes, jockeying to attempt to discover a line of sight that might permit them to and catch a flash of Tiger Woods in his surprising pink shirt.
May Woods nonetheless do it? Even Jack Nicklaus and Gary Participant have been going forwards and backwards after the opening ceremony. Nicklaus wasn’t certain. “Feeling aggressive is totally different than feeling like you’ll be able to win,” he mentioned after he’d hit the ceremonial tee shot. “I imply, I’m certain Tiger can be very aggressive this week. However I don’t know whether or not he can win or not. He hasn’t performed any competitors for a very long time.” It’s 508 days, to be precise.
Participant disagreed. “There’s no cause why not. So long as he does one thing which is totally crucial, and that’s to imagine that he can.” There’s little question about that half, at the very least. Like Woods mentioned, he wouldn’t be right here in any other case. What was much less clear was whether or not he was kidding himself, and everybody else, when he insisted that his recreation was as much as it. It turned clear fairly rapidly that he wasn’t.
Woods lined the 5 holes in even par, though when his first putt went within the roar was so loud it tricked lots of people into considering he should have finished one thing spectacular.
Since Woods’s identify was not up on any of the massive white scoreboards dotted across the course, and Augusta’s strict guidelines meant that nobody had a telephone useful to inform them any higher, the whisper went round that he had in reality birdied the primary. “He’s in nice form to make one other,” mentioned a person on the 2nd after Woods had hit his second shot right down to the slope in entrance of the inexperienced.
“I heard he couldn’t even swing after the accident,” somebody mentioned as Woods was standing over his chip. “He was like a complete newbie.” He was all anyone was speaking about. “I feel his win right here in ’19 was the best comeback ever” and “none of us had him to win then, both” and “I feel he’s going to expire of steam” and “simply making the lower right here can be a win for him” and “I can’t wait to inform my mama that I noticed Tiger Woods”. His companions, Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquín Niemann, didn’t determine within the dialog, although the latter was taking part in some sensible golf.
Woods however was taking part in good, regular stuff, rather less spectacular than the gang would have preferred. They have been quiet when he left a poor putt from off the entrance of the inexperienced quick on the third, and once more on the 4th when he missed with one other putt from the perimeter. It felt as if he was feeling his approach again into it, in tough circumstances. The course had been softened by two days of torrential rain however the sub-air drainage system was laborious at work, sucking up the groundwater. Overhead the wind was beginning to carry away the thick chilly, clouds and drizzle. By the point the group bought to the fifth the solar was out for the primary time all week.
The group sighed for him there when a 15ft birdie putt caught the lip and flipped out, and so they roared on the sixth when he picked up his first birdie (for actual this time) after hitting his tee-shot to 2ft. His restoration on the seventh was even higher. His drive fetched up in a patch of pine straw down the correct aspect, nestled between three tree trunks, however he whipped his second proper as much as the entrance of the inexperienced, 30 yards shy, then hit an outstanding chip to 2ft. “Properly you’ll be able to break my leg,” one man mentioned. ‘And stick a metallic rod in it too,” his good friend chimed in. Woods at all times did know find out how to get himself out of a decent spot.
He did drop a shot on the subsequent, the place he made two errors again to again after lacking the inexperienced together with his first chip after which hitting his second 5ft by. It began to get slightly wild after that. There have been some unhealthy misses, some sensible recoveries and a few breathtaking putts. He saved par after he hit a wild drive on the ninth however didn’t when he made the error once more, worse this time, on the 14th, after his foot nearly appeared to slide halfway by his swing. That bogey value him the shot he’d simply picked up on the thirteenth, the place he had a tap-in after his eagle putt from 23ft completed quick. The fifteenth was furry too, as he hopped his approach down by the bushes alongside the left aspect and flopped on to the inexperienced. After which he pulled out a 29ft birdie putt on the par-3 sixteenth.
On the finish of all of it, he scrambled his approach down the 18th and completed one below par. “Proper the place I need to be,” he mentioned. He’s going to compete alright, Nicklaus was proper about that. By Sunday we are going to discover out whether or not Participant was too. Lots of people would say it was a victory simply to make it right here. However Woods has totally different concepts about what profitable is.