The 2011 Masters tournament kicks off in Augusta, Georgia this week and maybe more than any other year, Tiger Woods seems like an afterthought. Once the greatest golfer on the planet and a former four time winner at Augusta, Woods comes into this event ranked seventh in the world and having not won a major in three years. Still, the Masters is where Tiger really seemed to cemented his legend and he realizes that the course itself is as famous as the players on it.
"I think that's what is so unique about this event is it's the only of the four majors that we play the same place each and every year. You can go back to watching Arnold make charges here in the 50s when it was on TV, and seeing that, and relate to what we are doing now; and each and every year in between. That's unlike any other event. Because of that, there's so much history that's developed. Guys making putts, guys holing out, guys hitting good shots, bad shots; you remember a lot."
Earlier in the week, Englishmen Ian Poulter, was asked about Tiger's chances at Augusta this year and said that not only would Woods not win, "I don't think he'll finish in the top five." Tiger laughed off the comments saying," Well, Poulter is always right, isn't he?"
If Tiger does finish outside the top five, it will likely be due to poor putting, which has plagued him at previous Masters. Tiger acknowledged that he has struggled and that putting will probably make the difference this weekend.
"Yeah, not putting well certainly has cost me a few Masters. And you know, I felt that I had a pretty good shot on a couple of different occasions to win on the back nine and just putting poorly. I have been streaky here for some reason, and you can't be streaky here. You have to get it going and you have to keep it going. The years that I've won here, I've putted well the entire week. You can't just putt well for 18 holes or even nine-hole stretches. You have to keep it going, avoid 3-putts, and have perfect pace all week. No matter how you play the golf course, no matter how well you play, you're going to have to make 6- and 8-footers for par. It's just a given here. And some of those years, I didn't make those putts. That's what has kept me out of the winner's circle."
Tiger will be paired with US Open Champion Graeme McDowell in round one tomorrow.