Tiger Woods has won four green jackets, tied with Arnold Palmer for second most all-time, and two behind Jack Nicklaus, who’s the owner of six.
So Tiger knows a thing or two about winning at Augusta, but it’s been 14 years since Woods’ last Masters win. And let’s face it- most of us thought Tiger would probably have 7-8 green coats by now.
Injuries got in the way. Bad choices got in the way. Personal humiliation got in the way.
And here we are. Tiger just looking to be a factor Sunday on the back nine, when anything can happen if a few putts drop around Amen Corner.
After one round, Tiger looks up to the task. He fired an opening round 70 Thursday, that could’ve easily been a 67. He should be even closer to the lead.
Missed putts on 5, 6 and 8 cost him. Still, he mostly drove it well, and missed iron shots usually landed in the right place.
He’s hitting it well enough to win. The question seems to be whether or not he can cash in on enough birdie (or eagle) chances with the putter.
Vintage Tiger used to make them all. 2019 Tiger is a lot less reliable with the flat stick. He’ll need his old buddy Scotty Cameron to cooperate to have a chance at finally getting that 15th Major.
It was also a good day for Rickie Fowler. After a sluggish opening nine score of 37, the former OSU Cowboy made three birdies on the backside. Two especially impressive ones on 11 and 12, plus another on 15.
Solid start for Rickie, who’s also put himself in the fast lane so far with a hopeful destination of contention on Sunday.
And current Cowboy and reigning US Amateur Champion Viktor Hovland had a solid opening day as well.
Hovland fired an even par round of 72, with four birdies and four bogeys. That makes him the current leader among the amateurs in the field.
There are a ton of solid players
who have crowded this leaderboard so far.
And the one guy who quietly has won 3 of the last 7 majors, Brooks Koepka, is tied for the lead at 6 under.
Why does this guy fly under the radar as a favorite in every major tournament?
Note to self: Pick Koepka to win or finish in the top three in every future major dummy.