AUGUSTA, Ga. – After his magical run to the Masters title in 2019, Tiger Woods looked back at a breakthrough a few weeks earlier, when he began to consistently hit a high draw – the shot shape he knew would give him the best opportunity to attack Augusta National.
Woods could use a similar development this year.
In six tournaments since the restart, Woods has not finished inside the top 35, failed to qualify for the Tour Championship, missed the cut at the U.S. Open and struggled at times with each aspect of his game, from his driving to usually reliable iron play to his putting.
“I haven’t put all the pieces together,” he said Tuesday, “and hopefully that will be this week.”
After battling back stiffness earlier in the year, Woods was late to rejoin the Tour following the restart in June, exercising caution about playing golf in a pandemic. Though he said he didn’t move that well at Winged Foot, he hasn't reported any significant issues with his surgically repaired back.
After exploring the idea of playing last week’s Houston Open as a final tuneup for the Masters, Woods instead opted for another week for preparation at home.
“My body is feeling better than I did last year, so it was a little bit easier to hit those shots,” he said, talking about the high draws. “Hopefully this year, I’ll be as consistent as I was last year. Last year, I was able to hit a lot of really good iron shots and I putted great. I had a great feel of the greens.”
Just like in 2019, Woods didn’t play a practice round Tuesday, wanting instead to conserve his energy and work in the tournament practice area. He’ll play nine holes Wednesday, though the forecast is calling for an 80-percent chance of thunderstorms throughout the day.
“Hopefully I get the same feel as I did last year and put it all together,” he said.
Woods tees off at 7:55 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Shane Lowry and amateur Andy Ogletree.