‘Walking miracle’ Tiger Woods talks down his Masters hopes as Augusta hype grows

Author: daniel fountainThu, 2018-04-05 03:26ID: 1522877900020965200London: Tiger Woods has played down expectations he will break his 10-year Major duck with victory at the US Masters on Sunday.
The big beast has confounded all expectations by not only turning up at Augusta, but also appearing as one of the favorites.
Last year Woods underwent a fourth surgery on his back and was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence when he was discovered asleep at the wheel of his car — he was found to have five prescription drugs in his system and pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
After his police mugshot was seen around the world, it was feared Woods would never be a force again.
Just four months into his comeback, however, the American has recorded consecutive top-five finishes and is viewed as a firm favorite to claim a fifth Green Jacket, a feat Woods sought to play down.
“I don’t think there is one clear-cut favorite,” the 42-year-old said.
“I think there are so many guys playing well at the same time. That’s what is making this year’s Masters so exciting. There are guys from the early 20s to Phil at 47 who have all played well.
“We know we’re going to have to play well in order to win, and it’s going to be quite a challenge. It’s going to be fun.”
One of the biggest surprises about Woods’ comeback has been his swing speed. Just months after the back-fusion operation, he is swinging the club quicker than most of his rivals. With that has come a return of the old swagger that thrilled fans and scared opponents, an aura not seen since his last Major victory back in 2008.
“For some reason, I don’t have any pain,” he said. “Yes, I’m much tighter and I have to work on strength in different ways, but I’m hitting speeds I hit in my prime.
“The reason I said I’m a walking miracle is because I don’t know anyone who has had a lower back fusion that can swing the club as fast as I can. Some of the guys have said: ‘I need to fuse my back so I can hit it harder.”
While Woods was keen dampen expectations he might win, his rivals were less so. One favorite who is not ruling out a Woods renaissance at Augusta is Rory McIlroy, who said: “He has a great chance. Look at how he has played the ast few weeks. He has had four wins here. Any time Woods is healthy and in this sort of form, he is dangerous at any tournament. But given his history here, I think even more so.”
Meanwhile, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson is confident he can get over his missed Masters last year. The American was hot favorite to win 12 months ago, but a back injury sustained in a fall the day before the first round stopped him making the first tee.
“I am going to take it really easy. (The accident) was kind of a freak thing and it happened, there is nothing I can do about it except I’m here this year,” he said. “Hopefully, I can tee it up on Thursday, and I will definitely be looking forward to that.”
Main category: SportsTags: golfgolf MajorsMastersAUgustaTiger Woods Jordan Spieth is certain he is the man to beat at the MastersRory McIlroy ready and relaxed for a Masters title tilt

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