Masters Day One: All eyes on Tiger Woods at Augusta

Woods had defied the odds once again by recovering in time to take his place in the 91-man field for the year’s first major championship
Masters Day One: All eyes on Tiger Woods at Augusta

By Phil Casey, PA Golf Correspondent, Augusta

All eyes were on Tiger Woods ahead of the 86th Masters at Augusta National.

Less than 14 months after suffering severe injuries to his right leg in a car accident, Woods had defied the odds once again by recovering in time to take his place in the 91-man field for the year’s first major championship.

“It’s just truly amazing,” Masters chairman Fred Ridley said in his annual pre-tournament press conference. “I don’t even know how else to say it.

“I would have probably taken some pretty high odds a few weeks or a few months ago whether or not he would be here.

“But when you think about it, it really shouldn’t surprise us. He is one of the most determined, dedicated athletes that I have ever seen in my life.

“I saw him last Tuesday when he was out practising, he was in great spirits and had (his son) Charlie with him.

“It was interesting in his press conference that he said the only real issue is walking, that his golf swing’s fine. So who knows what might happen this week. But we are excited he’s here.”

Is there anything new for 2022?

Tom Watson will join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as an honorary starter at the Masters
Tom Watson will join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as an honorary starter at the Masters (David Davies/PA)

Tom Watson, who won the Masters in 1977 and 1981, joins fellow former champions Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus as an honorary starter. The 72-year-old made his debut as an amateur in 1970 and a further 42 consecutive appearances from 1975 to 2016. Despite no longer competing in the Masters, Watson won the par-three contest in 2018 at the age of 68, making him the oldest ever winner of the event. Since Arnold Palmer’s death in 2016, Palmer and Nicklaus have started the Masters as a twosome, but were joined by Lee Elder last year.

Course specialist?

Jon Rahm
Jon Rahm walks on the second green during a practice round for the Masters (David J. Phillip/AP)

Spain’s Jon Rahm has finished in the top 10 in each of the last four years in the Masters (2018 4th, 2019 T9, 2020 T7, 2021 T5) and could have some extra motivation to claim a second major title after losing his status as world number one.

Key tee times

3.34pm Irish time – Tiger Woods, Louis Oosthuizen, Joaquin Niemann
3.56pm Irish time – Adam Scott, Scottie Scheffler, Tony Finau
6.41pm Irish time – Will Zalatoris, Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm
7.03pm Irish time – Matt Fitzpatrick, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy

Weather forecast

Scattered thunderstorms remained possible on Wednesday evening, but the cold front passing through on Thursday morning was forecast to bring an end to the rain. Clearing skies and breezy conditions are then expected the rest of the day. A 40 per cent chance of early morning showers and thunderstorms until 8am, then becoming mostly sunny and breezy, with winds of 10-15mph, gusting up to 23mph.

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