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Tiger will follow winning blueprint in Masters repeat bid


Washington: Tiger Woods said on Tuesday he will follow the same preparation blueprint that led to an iconic Masters triumph as he prepares to defend his title in April at Augusta National.

Woods returned from spinal fusion surgery to win his first major title since 2008 at last year’s Masters, capturing his fifth green jacket and 15th career major title. “To be the current Masters champion, it’s crazy that somehow it all came together for one magical week,” Woods said in a teleconference. “So many little things had to come together and they did. Last year was just an amazing week.”

The 44-year-old American superstar, who has matched Sam Snead’s all-time PGA Tour record of 82 titles, will return to Magnolia Lane in less than six weeks with eyes on a repeat bid.

“The plan is to prepare the same way. It worked last year,” Woods said. “I’ve got a blueprint of what I need to do. Hopefully I can have the same feelings.”

Oddsmakers have made top-ranked Rory McIlroy, lacking only a green jacket to complete a career Grand Slam, an early Masters favourite at 15-2 with Woods second at 10-1 and Spain’s world number two Jon Rahm at 11-1.

Woods, who has carefully managed his schedule to avoid overtaxing his back after multiple surgeries, has played at Torrey Pines and Riviera in 2020 after serving as player-captain in a US victory in Australia at last year’s Presidents Cup.

Woods is expected to play at Bay Hill and the Players Championship as the tour makes a Florida swing before the WGC Match Play in Texas, which comes two weeks before the Masters.

“Once we get to Florida it feels like the Masters is right around the corner, but I have been focused on this since Australia,” Woods said. — AFP

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