The first major golf tournament of the year, the
Masters, tees off Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia
with world number one Tiger Woods looking for a fifth Masters title.
Woods is playing in his first major
tournament since undergoing reconstructive knee surgery.
time Tiger Woods won a major tournament, his left knee was in
excruciating pain. Woods had stress fractures and a torn cruciate
ligament in the joint, but was still able to win the U.S. Open at
Torrey Pines last June in a 19-hole playoff.
reconstructive knee surgery, and was off the golf course for nearly
eight months. He returned to play at the Accenture Match Play
championship, but lost to South African Tim Clark in the second round
In Tiger's next tournament - the CA Championships in
Miami last month - he finished tied for ninth. Then he won the Arnold
Palmer Invitational March 29th, rolling in a birdie putt on the final
hole to take the title. Woods says he never lost his competitive fire
during his rehabilitation, and he is ready to take on the world.
"I was surprised how fast I got the feeling," Woods said. "It came back to
me at the [Accenture] Match play." Tiger said he feels just like he did when he prepared for other major tournaments.
For Tiger to win a fifth Masters title, he will have to beat the
best players in the world, including two-time Masters winner and
countryman Phil Mickelson. The man known on the tour as "Lefty" won
the CA Championships in March and says he is confident headed into this
"I feel very comfortable and confident in my
game and in my equipment. And I feel like I'll be able to in the next
five years achieve levels of play that I haven't achieved earlier in
my career," he said.
Mickelson said he doesn't want any uncertainties in his path to see how far he can go in golf.
Three straight for Harrington?
Three-time major tournament winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland
will try to win his first Green Jacket this week. Harrington won the British Open and the PGA last
year and will be going for his third straight major title. But the
Irishman says any time he plays in a grand slam event, there's
"It's a major. It's a chance to win another
major," he said. "It's a chance to win the Masters. All those things bring their
The Irishman said the chance to win his third straight major adds some pressure, but all major tournaments have pressure, especially the Masters.
will tee off with former Masters winner Mike Weir of Canada and Ryuji
Imada of Japan. Third-ranked Sergio Garcia will play with Australia's
Stuart Appleby and Britain's Oliver Wilson.
Fiji's Vijay Singh, the
2000 Masters champion, starts play with three-time major tournament
winner Ernie Els of South Africa and world number four Geoff Ogilvy of
The tournament is being played on the Augusta National Golf
Club course, a par-72 layout that measures 6,799 meters. Last year,
Trevor Immelmann of South Africa won the title by three strokes over
Tiger Woods. But this year, Woods has something to prove - that he is
still the man to beat any time he steps on the course.