Woods using Nicklaus, Couples and Langer as inspiration for sixth win at Augusta

By Sports Desk November 10, 2020

Tiger Woods is taking part in the Masters with the intention of retaining his title and will use the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer as inspiration.

Woods produced a remarkable display to end an 11-year wait for his 15th major title in last year's event at Augusta National.

He also won the Zozo Championship in October 2019 but has since struggled for form, finishing in a tie for 37th at the US PGA Championship and missing the cut at the U.S. Open.

Now just a month shy of his 45th birthday, Woods is not giving up on matching Nicklaus' record six Masters victories and will aim to use his advancing years to his benefit.

"Do I expect to contend? Yes, I do," he said at a pre-tournament news conference on Tuesday.

"You look at Freddie and Bernhard - they are in their 60s and they seem to contend. Jack contended here when he was, what, 58?

"It can be done. This is a golf course in which having an understanding of how to play and where to miss it and how to hit the shots, it helps.

"The golf course keeps getting longer, and it gets a little bit more difficult as I've got older and I don't quite hit it as far.

"When I first came here it was a lot of drivers and a lot of wedges. Now it's different and I'm hitting longer clubs into the holes but understanding how to play it definitely helps.

"That's one of the reasons why you see past champions, like I mentioned Freddie and Bernhard, to be able to contend so late in their careers, and hopefully I'll be one of those."

Woods has been grouped with Open champion Shane Lowry and U.S Amateur Championship winner Andy Ogletree for the first two rounds of his Masters defence.

Pre-tournament favourite Bryson DeChambeau will play alongside Louis Oosthuizen and Jon Rahm, who produced a remarkable hole-in-one in a practice session on Tuesday.

DeChambeau's incredible driving length is a hot topic of debate ahead of the rescheduled event and Woods was full of praise for the big-hitter.

"Bryson has put in the time, he has put in the work," Woods said. "What he's done in the gym has been incredible.

"What he's done on the range and what he's done with his entire team to be able to optimise that one club [driver] and transform his game and the ability to hit the ball as far as he has and in as short a span as he has, it's never been done before.

"I had speed in '97, I hit it far. As I got bigger and I filled out and tried to get stronger, it was to not hit the ball further. It was to be more consistent and to be able to practice longer.

"What Bryson has done has been absolutely incredible, and we have all been amazed at what he's been able to do in such a short span of time. It's never been done before."

DeChambeau is toying with using a 48-inch driver this week but accepts his chances of repeating his U.S. Open success at Augusta will not be solely down to how far he can hit the ball.

"I am not 100 per cent sure if I will put it in play yet because of the unknown, with it being so close to the Masters," he said.

"But if it is an improvement on every facet of launch conditions, then I don't see why not?

"I can hit it as far as I want to, but it comes down to putting and chipping. That is one of the things I think sometimes people struggle to see.

"If I don't putt it well at the U.S. Open, don't wedge it well, don't hit my irons close, I don't win that tournament."

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