Tiger Woods said he needs "to go out there and handle my business" as the five-time Masters champion recovered from a dreadful start to his second round.

It is a surprise that Woods is competing this week, and while a fairytale tournament victory looks beyond him – with world number one Scottie Scheffler leading the chasing pack by five shots on eight under – he is pleased to have at least secured his place for the weekend's action at Augusta.

Woods was champion at the Masters most recently in 2019, when he ended a run of 11 years without a major title.

However, his second round on Friday got off to a woeful start as he bogeyed four of his first five holes, with his comeback threatening to turn sour as he flirted with the projected cut score of four over par.

Woods soon turned things around, though, and despite two more bogeys on 11 and 12 he followed up with two birdies and four pars to finish with a round of 74 and on one over par overall, meaning he kept up his 100 per cent record of making the cut at Augusta.

The 46-year-old has now made the weekend on 22 occasions at the Masters, which is the only major in which he has always made the cut as a professional. He has secured a top-five finish in 12 of those previous 21 appearances.

Five-time Masters champion Woods conceded the wind had been an issue early on, saying: "It was blustery. It was windy. It was swirling all over the place.

"I hit a couple shots that I got a couple of bad gusts and also made a couple of bad swings on top of that. Then on four, I ended up in a divot. It was just like 'okay, what else can go wrong?'"

When asked how he was feeling, Woods laughed and replied: "Well, I don't feel as good as I would like to feel. That's okay.

"As I said, I've got a chance going into the weekend. Hopefully I'll have one of those light bulb moments and turn it on in the weekend and get it done. You've seen guys do it with a chance going into the back nine. If you are within five or six going into the back nine, anything can happen.

"I need to get myself there. That's the key. I need to get myself there.

"Tomorrow will be a big day. It's going to be cool. It's going to be tough. Again, the wind is supposed to blow again and tough scoring conditions. I need to go out there and handle my business and get into the red and get myself a chance going into that back nine on Sunday."

Rory McIlroy endured a "really tough" day in the Georgia wind after carding another round 73 to sit on two over par after two rounds at the Masters.

The weather really put the "gust" in Augusta on Friday as several players struggled with the conditions, though McIlroy looks to have made the cut, projected to be four over.

The Northern Irishman made three birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey as he found himself unable to make a move on the leaders.

Speaking after his round, McIlroy said of the conditions: "Tough, really tough. It's gusty, it's hard to commit to a number and say 'okay, it's 170, it's really playing 200', and committing to it because the wind's just going up and down.

"It's a tough challenge, being okay with hitting to 30 feet and getting within two shots and making pars, that's been the name of the game today."

The 32-year-old hit a bogey at 10 before double bogeying the 11th to drop to four over par, but was able to birdie two of the last seven to potentially rescue his week.

"That was a soft couple of holes on 10 and 11, giving away three shots," he added. "And then to play the last seven in two under was really nice. I hit the ball very well coming in, felt like I left a couple out there too, I had a few chances, but it's just one of those days that even the 10 footers are difficult because the wind's gusting.

"One of those days that unsettles you a bit and puts some doubt in your mind, and that's where golf can become difficult."

A number of high-profile players are likely to miss the cut, with Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka on six over par after two rounds, Xander Schauffele on seven over, Justin Rose eight over and Bryson DeChambeau 10 over.

Tiger Woods set off on his second round at Augusta with the wind blowing and the world watching as the five-time Masters champion looked to stay in contention.

After an opening one-under-par 71, Woods said he was "right where I need to be" at his comeback tournament, explaining he would require "lots of ice baths" before returning to action on Friday.

That is because his body is continuing to recover from the serious car accident in February 2021 that left him with major leg and foot injuries.

It is a surprise to many that Woods is competing this week, but he said ahead of the tournament that he believed he could win again, and Thursday's impressive round showed that was not merely bravado.

He teed off at 13:42 local time (18:42 BST), taking the driver off the tee and finding a large fairway bunker. From there he failed to hit the green, with Woods then unable to get up and down for par, rolling in for a bogey that nudged him back to level par.

The 46-year-old was champion at the Masters most recently in 2019, when he ended a run of 11 years without a major title.

He has 15 majors to date by his name, three behind record holder Jack Nicklaus.

Woods is playing his opening two rounds with Chile's Joaquin Niemann, who had a sparkling three-under 69 on Thursday. Louis Oosthuizen was part of the group but shot a 76 on day one and pulled out injured before the second round.

South African Charl Schwartzel won at Augusta in 2011 and made a significant move on Friday as a three-under 69, following an opening level-par 72, nudged him to within a shot of the lead, which was held by another former Masters winner in Danny Willett.

Willett made a birdie at his second hole of the day and stood at four under for the tournament early in his second round after an opening 69 on Thursday.

Im Sung-jae began at five under but slipped back to three under with three holes of his round remaining.

Australian Cameron Smith, who tied second at the Masters in 2020 and has two wins on the PGA Tour already this year, had a bizarre opening round on Thursday, with his four-under-par 68 bookended by double bogeys on the first and 18th holes.

The eight birdies he recorded between those calamitous holes pointed to Smith being a contender again this year.

Smith, 28, began on Friday with a dropped shot at the first, an improvement on how he got on in the opening round at the same hole but a blow nonetheless as it knocked him back to three under.

Rory McIlroy will hope to build on an encouraging start on day two at The Masters and claimed his first-round one-over 73 was the "worst I could have shot".

The Northern Irishman headed to Augusta National searching to complete the elusive career grand slam for an eighth attempt, and sits six shots behind leader Im Sung-jae after the opening round on Thursday.

Slow starts have often been McIlroy's problems at the majors, but he felt his "negative" approach paid dividends as he opted for a more conservative route around Augusta.

Four-time major winner McIlroy was satisfied with his first outing as he looks for a first major title since the PGA Championship in 2014, and believes his one-over-par round did not do his efforts justice.

"I am encouraged with how I played. I don't really care where I am at on the leaderboard, it doesn't matter," the 32-year-old said.

"I hit the ball well from tee to green in the most part, I am pleased with that [although] I want to work on my putting.

"I think I hit 12 fairways and 14 greens and just didn't really get a lot out of the round. I hit a lot of greens in the middle and made a lot of easy pars.

"I had a putt at 14 to go two-under for the round with a par five to play but I three-putted that and halted any momentum I had. I think that's the worst I could have shot, I felt I played really well.

"The course is in incredible shape for the amount of rain we have had, so I am looking forward to dry conditions over the next three days."

McIlroy, who is tied for 31st place after his three bogeys cancelled out two birdies, is set to get back in action at 15:45 BST on Friday with playing partners Brooks Koepka and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

While he had no difficulty in parring the first hole on the opening day, McIlroy believes the nerves of that initial tee shot at The Masters never fade away.

"The hour or two leading up to that first tee shot there are nerves and anxiety," he added. "Once you get the first tee shot out of the way it is business as usual.

"I usually envision, 'what's the worst place I could hit it off the tee?' I then think, 'okay, I could probably make four from there'. That is how I settle myself down."

Tiger Woods looked in good health in his return to The Masters, but it is Im Sung-jae who stands alone atop the leaderboard after the first round at Augusta National.

In Woods' first competitive round since The Masters in 2020, the legend finished with three birdies – on the sixth, 13th and 16th – as well as two bogeys, on the eighth and 14th holes.

South Korea's Im produced the round of the day, birdieing the first three holes on his way to five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on 13 to finish at five under.

Smith, who recently won The Players Championship, finished one shot off the lead and outright second at four under, despite bookending his round with double-bogeys on both the first and the 18th, with eight birdies in between.

World number one Scottie Scheffler nearly went bogey-free, but a slip-up on 18 saw him finish two shots off the pace at three under. 

It was a similar story for Dustin Johnson, who birdied four of his first 10 holes before dropping a shot on the 17th to finish tied with Scheffler, as well as Chile's Joaquin Niemann and England's Danny Willett in a tie for third.

Patrick Cantlay and Canadian Corey Conners highlight the small group tied for seventh at two under, while Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and former runner-up Will Zalatoris are one further back, tied with Woods for 10th.

A decorated group finished at even par, including Hideki Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia, as well as Victor Hovland, who had five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey.

A pair of big names shot 73 for a one over finish in Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy, while plenty of notable stars were a further shot back.

Bookmakers' favourite Jon Rahm was uncharacteristically off his game, with four bogeys and two birdies to finish at two over along with Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.

Brooks Koepka was two under through nine holes, but three consecutive bogeys on 11, 12 and 13 drained his confidence, eventually finishing three over.

Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas had a day to forget at four over.

Im Sung-Jae was delighted to be alone atop the leaderboard after round one of his second appearance at The Masters.

The South Korean had an incredible debut at Augusta National, finishing tied with Cameron Smith for second place in 2020.

Im finished Thursday's round five under after birdieing his first three holes of the day, also collecting a birdie on the seventh to card a four under front-nine.

After consecutive bogeys to start the back nine, he recovered in style, nabbing an eagle on the par-five 13th, and another birdie on 15.

Speaking to the media after his first round, the former runner-up highlighted how much confidence his previous success has given him.

"It was great to have a great finish at my Masters debut, and because of that experience I feel comfortable when I come to Augusta," he said. "I feel like I can play well here every time.

"My preparation stays the same for each tournament, but I felt like my driving game was not as up to par as what it used to be, so I worked on my driving, and today the key to a successful round was having good tee shots.

"The key to the good round today was just getting off to a hot start. I birdied the first three holes, and that's what got me on to a good rhythm."

Australia's Cameron Smith had mixed feelings after his first round at The Masters on Thursday.

Smith finished the day with a four-under 68, which was enough for outright second on the leaderboard, trailing leader Sungjae Im by one stroke.

It was an action-packed day for the most famous mullet on tour, tallying a round-high eight birdies, but shooting himself in the foot with double-bogeys on the first and last hole.

Speaking to the media after stepping off the 18th green, Smith said he is not going to dwell on his painful ending to his round.

"I’ve moved on already," he said.

"The less you guys bring it up, the quicker I’ll forget about it. I’m done with it. I think the stuff in between was really nice, and [I'll] just take the positives out of it.

"I feel like I played some really solid golf today, and to be four under is a little bit disappointing. 

"But given the condition of the golf course, and the condition with the wind and stuff like that, if you had given me four under at the start of the day, I would have taken it.”

Touching on his double-bogeys, Smith said they were more of a case of misreads rather than mis-hits.

"To be honest, those couple of double-bogeys really didn’t have too bad a shots in them," he said. "It’s not like I was scratching it out of the trees. 

"I got my second shot into a reasonable spot, and just misjudged the wind on both wedges."

In a spectacular run of form, which includes a win at The Players Championship this year, Smith credits his ascension to increased professionalism off the course.

"I feel as though the last five or six years I’ve been really inconsistent with my training, and probably the last eight months or so I’ve been just really consistent," he said.

"I’ve made lots of good changes, I think, to my body, and I just feel like I’m able to walk off the golf course and not be wrecked.

"Most of the time I feel pretty fresh walking off the golf course, which is a feeling I don’t think I had for a long time, and it’s I think why my game has probably got a lot more consistent through four rounds.

“I lost a little bit of weight – my body moves a little bit quicker when I don’t have so much around my belly. 

"I think I’ve definitely started to see my driver going probably a little bit further, definitely the swing speed up a little bit.

"I just need to – now I think the next step is just being able to control that and hit more fairways."

Tiger Woods looked in good health in his return to The Masters, but it is Sungjae Im who stands alone atop the leaderboard after the first round at Augusta National.

In Woods' first competitive round since The Masters in 2020, the legend finished with three birdies – on the sixth, 13th and 16th – as well as two bogeys, on the eighth and 14th holes.

South Korea's Im produced the round of the day, birdieing the first three holes on his way to five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on 13 to finish at five under.

Smith, who recently won The Players Championship, finished one shot off the lead and outright second at four under, despite bookending his round with double-bogeys on both the first and the 18th, with eight birdies in between.

World number one Scottie Scheffler nearly went bogey-free, but a slip-up on 18 saw him finish two shots off the pace at three under. 

It was a similar story for Dustin Johnson, who birdied four of his first 10 holes before dropping a shot on the 17th to finish tied with Scheffler, as well as Chile's Joaquin Niemann and England's Danny Willett in a tie for third.

Patrick Cantlay and Canadian Corey Conners highlight the small group tied for seventh at two under, while Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and former runner-up Will Zalatoris are one further back, tied with Woods for 10th.

A decorated group finished at even par, including Hideki Matsuyama and Sergio Garcia, as well as Victor Hovland, who had five birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey.

A pair of big names shot 73 for a one over finish in Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy, while plenty of notable stars were a further shot back.

Bookmakers' favourite Jon Rahm was uncharacteristically off his game, with four bogeys and two birdies to finish at two over along with Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.

Brooks Koepka was two under through nine holes, but three consecutive bogeys on 11, 12 and 13 drained his confidence, eventually finishing three over.

Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Thomas had a day to forget at four over.

Tiger Woods says he was "sore" but "right where I need to be" after making a promising start to his astonishing comeback at The Masters.

It was feared the 15-time major champion's incredible career would be over when he suffered serious leg and foot injuries in a car accident in February 2021.

Yet just over 13 months later, the legendary American was teeing off in the first major of the season at Augusta and was just three shots off the lead when he signed for a one-under 71.

At the famous course where he won the green jacket five times, Woods made three birdies and two bogeys in a promising return.

Sungjae Im was at the top of the leaderboard on five under through 15 holes, with Dustin Johnson a shot adrift of the South Korean along with Cameron Smith, who started and finished with a double bogey as he went round in 68.

The 46-year-old Woods says it feels like a victory just to be playing this week and is ready to go through the pain barrier in Georgia, where he was given such great support on Thursday.

He said: "I am as sore as I expected to feel, but it was amazing to have - like I was telling the team all week, come game time, it will be a different deal.

"My adrenaline will kick in. I'll get into my own little world, and I'll get after it. It's about the training that we've done to have the stamina to go.

"I'm going to be sore, yes. That's just the way it is. But the training cycles that we've had to make sure that I have the stamina to keep going -- and this is only one round. We've got three more to go. There's a long way to go and a lot of shots to be played."

Woods revealed that his pre-round preparation had not gone to plan.

"I had a terrible warm-up session," he said. "I hit it awful. I went back to what my dad always said. Did you accomplish your task in the warm-up? It's a warm-up. Did you warm-up?

"Yes, I did. Now go play. That's exactly what I did, I went and played."

"I forgot whatever I did on the range and just go ahead and play shot for shot, hit the ball in the correct spot, commit to what I'm doing, leave myself in the right angles, hopefully make a few putts, and let's get after this thing. Yeah, I was able to do that.

"I was able to finish up in the red. I'm only three back. I'm right where I need."

The former world number one, who could have lost a leg following his car accident last year, had more work to do after such an encouraging opening round.

He added: "Lots of treatments. Lots of ice. Lots of ice baths. Just basically freezing myself to death. That's just part of the deal. And getting all the swelling out as best as we possibly can and getting it mobile and warmed up, activated and explosive for the next day. Those are two totally different ends of the spectrum.

"Most sports, if you're not feeling very good, you got a team-mate to pass it off to, and they can kind of shoulder the load. Or in football, one day a week. Here we've got four straight days, and there's no one that's going to shoulder the load besides me. I've got to figure out a way to do it.

"My team's been incredible at getting me into this position so that I can compete. I'll take it from there. I know how to play. I've just got to get out there where I can play."

Tiger Woods made an impressive start to his sensational Masters return before Dustin Johnson joined Cameron Smith in a share of the lead at Augusta.

Woods declared himself fit to make an incredible comeback at Augusta on Thursday, just over 13 months after suffering serious leg and foot injuries in a car accident.

The 15-time major champion did not resemble a player whose career could have been over last year as he carded a one-under 71 in his first competitive round for 508 days.

Woods was in a share of ninth place when he holed a putt for par at 18 following a wayward tee shot as he made up for lost time in Georgia, where he was given magnificent support from packed galleries.

The five-time winner of the green jacket went out in 36 after a brilliant tee shot gave him a simple task of rolling in a short birdie putt at the par-three sixth, before a first bogey at the eighth.

Legendary American Woods made further gains at holes 13 and 16 following a second dropped shot at 14, looking like he had never been away in a promising opening round.

Smith started and finished with a double bogey as he signed for a four-under 68.

The Australian had been three shots clear, but sliced his tee shot way at the last to the right, undoing some of the good work after making eight birdies.

World number one Scottie Scheffler joined Smith on four under when he made a fourth birdie at the penultimate hole, but bogeyed 18 to join Danny Willett and Joaquin Niemann one stroke off the pace.

Johnson ominously moved into a share of the lead with Smith when he made a fourth birdie of the day at the 10th under blue skies.

There were roars at Augusta National when Tiger Woods saved par at the first hole of the Masters on his sensational return.

Woods has defied the odds to make his comeback this week after recovering from the serious leg and foot injuries he sustained in a car accident in February 2021.

The 15-time major champion was given an incredible ovation at the first tee in Georgia on Thursday after a delay to the start of the tournament due to thunderstorms.

Woods, a winner of the green jacket on five occasions, most recently in 2019, sent his tee shot just short of a bunker to the right of the fairway and had work to do following his approach.

The legendary American chipped his third shot 10 feet from the hole and looked like he had never been away as he rolled in a putt for par.

Padraig Harrington hit the turn at the top of the leaderboard on one under along with the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Daniel Berger, Harry Higgs and Max Homa.

Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama also made par at the opening hole, but there was a double-bogey for the well fancied Cameron Smith.

Englishman Paul Casey will not win a maiden major this weekend, as he withdrew due to injury.

Tom Watson said he was "truly humbled" to make his first appearance as an honorary starter of the Masters on Thursday, as action got under way at Augusta.

After a half-hour delay caused by overnight storms, Watson joined fellow golf greats Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player in hitting the first tee shots of the championship.

The ceremonial role – none of the three are playing in the tournament – is one that only goes to golf's most notable stars from history, with the late Arnold Palmer having long been part of the group.

Watson, in a purple windcheater, hit the third tee shot after Player, in his customary black, and Nicklaus, in yellow sweater and cap, were the first to tee off.

"I would like to say how honoured I am to be with Gary and Jack," said Watson, as he approached the tee.

He spoke of the proud tradition and observing Palmer, Gene Sarazen and Byron Nelson being honorary starters in Masters history.

"To be a part of this thing, I am truly humbled," said 72-year-old Watson.

He then hit the best-looking drive of the three men, who joined together in a huddle after receiving the acclaim of the early-morning crowd.

Watson won the Masters in 1977 and 1981, with the American adding one U.S. Open title and five Open Championship victories.

He played his final Masters, and final major, at Augusta in April 2016.

Player, now a fighting fit 86, won the Masters three times, while 82-year-old Nicklaus is the event's record six-time champion.

Tiger Woods was greeted with thunderstorms that caused a delay to play on day one at the Masters, where the American superstar was making a shock return to competition.

The scheduled start at 08:00 local time in Georgia (13:00 BST) was moved back by half an hour due to the inclement weather on Thursday.

Lightning strikes were observed locally during the night, leading organisers to shift back the schedule.

Woods, the 15-time major winner who triumphed at the Masters for a fifth time three years ago, is returning to golf 14 months after a major car crash in California which he has admitted he was lucky to survive.

He suffered major leg and foot injuries but has tested his body against the hilly major championship course over the past week and was listed as a late-morning starter, with a rescheduled tee time of 11:04 local time (16:04 BST) as he prepared to play with South African Louis Oosthuizen and Chile's Joaquin Niemann.

Declan Rice believes a green jacket would be an ideal complement to claret and blue for West Ham fans Billy Horschel and Francesco Molinari.

England and West Ham footballer Rice sent the loyal Hammers a message of good luck on Thursday, with the Masters getting under way at Augusta National.

Neither Horschel nor Molinari hail from West Ham's traditional east London catchment area, but both have made public declarations of love for the Premier League club.

Horschel, a 35-year-old American, became a West Ham supporter during his days in college and used a golf bag bearing club colours and the team's crest during last year's Open Championship.

Molinari first began following West Ham in 2009 when his friend and fellow Italian Gianfranco Zola was manager of the team.

Rice said, in a message posted on West Ham's Twitter page: "Billy, Francesco, all the best this week in the Masters.

"Me and the boys will be rooting for you. Hopefully one of you can get the green jacket. All the best. See you soon."

Horschel finished tied for second at the recent Arnold Palmer Invitational and is up to 13th in the world rankings. He has only ever spent one week higher on that list, when he briefly held down number 12 in 2014, and headed into the Masters with high hopes, looking to improve on his best performance of tied-17th in the 2016 tournament.

He was due off in a starry afternoon group alongside Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa, both two-time major winners.

Molinari, the 2018 Open champion, has struggled for results of late and was among the early starters on day one, joining 1987 Masters winner Larry Mize and Austria's Sepp Straka in the third group out.

West Ham had a major assignment of their own to look forward to on Thursday, tackling Lyon in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

Masters and Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley says Phil Mickelson was not "disinvited" from the first major of the year.

Six-time major winner Mickelson in February revealed he was taking a hiatus following the backlash to his comments promoting a Saudi Arabia-backed Super Golf League. 

The 51-year-old American had suggested that although Saudi Arabia has "a horrible record on human rights", the threat of the potential breakaway competition could be used to "reshape how the PGA Tour operates".

Mickelson subsequently apologised for making "reckless" comments.

There will be no fourth Masters title for the San Diego native this week, as he is not in the field in Georgia. 

Ridley on Wednesday denied that Mickelson's absence is because he is not welcome.

He said in a press conference: "I would like to say we did not disinvite Phil. Phil is a three-time Masters Champion and is invited in that category and many other categories; he's the defending PGA Champion. 

"Phil reached out to me, I think it was in late February, early March, and let me know that he did not intend to play. That was by way of a text. 

"And I thanked him for his courtesy in letting me know.  I told him that we certainly appreciated that and, you know, told him that I was certainly willing to discuss that further with him if he'd like, and he thanked me, and we had a very cordial exchange."

While Ridley says it will be strange not to see Mickelson tee off on Thursday, he is naturally delighted that Tiger Woods' is set to make a sensational comeback.

"Well, certainly not anything we anticipated. I think in Phil's case, he made a personal decision, and I don't know anything beyond that," Jacobs said.

"I know that Phil has been a real fixture here at the Masters for many, many years. He's been a big part of our history. I certainly and we certainly wish him the best sort of working through the issues he's dealing with right now. 

"As it relates to Tiger, it's just truly amazing. 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, even a few weeks 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 out last Tuesday when he was out practising, was in great spirits and had Charlie [his son] with him. It was interesting yesterday in his press conference, he said the only really issue is walking; that his golf swing's fine. So who knows what might happen this week, but we are excited he's here."

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