Woods grabs spotlight as Leishman takes lead

Rory McIlroy who'll bid to complete a grand slam is grouped with Jon Rahm and Adam Scott

"Thankfully for favourite-backers, nearly all of the big guns look to have been handed favourable tee off times at The Masters this year", said Henrik Lykkesteen, VP of commercial for Better Collective. Golfers at the 82nd edition of the Masters Tournament tee off Thursday at Augusta National.

Playing partner Marc Leishman provided even more highlights.

Tiger Woods feels like he played better than he scored at the Masters. This hole was bogeyed only once by a player who won the Masters in the past three years, with the three champions combining to average 2.83 strokes.

At No. 15, Woods will need to avoid the water near the green and attack the flagstick. Three-time champion Phil Mickelson has a realistic opportunity for another Green Jacket, as well, after breaking a almost five-year winless streak with a WGC-Mexico Championship a month ago. He was back to producing Sunday-sounding roars at the Masters by making eagles on the back nine - and those were just practice rounds.

"I'm very fortunate to do the two things I love", he said.

"I don't think there's one clear-cut favorite", Woods said. The Masters will be the first major he plays since the PGA Championship in August 2015. He beat two of his biggest rivals, Mickelson and David Duval, to deliver under the pressure.

Woods says, "This is a very bunched leaderboard, and by the end of the week, it's going to be really crowded". "I've got to go play and then let the chips fall where they may". "Hopefully, I can tee it up on Thursday".

"I get asked about it every day out here on the range or walking down the fairway", Johnson said.

It is hard to remember a US Masters with so many outstanding golfers potentially in contention.

"It was pretty awesome", Couples said.

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Now, he has not won anything since 2013, has had multiple surgeries, the last of which being a fusion surgery of his spine less than one year ago, and has dropped from 660th to 105th on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) in the last 10 weeks.

Woods was not sharp in this first round. "How he's found five more miles per hour in club-head speed in his 40s after a fused back is unbelievable".

Like Arnold Palmer before him, Woods' long lasting effect on purses and style of play will be felt on tour for a generation or more. It was one of the lower moments in his life.

Eventual Masters champion has come out of final Sunday pairing 22 out of the past 27 years.

"Tiger Woods has a legitimate chance to win the Masters".

Ridley added to that air of excitement when he announced the establishment of the first women's event - the Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship - to be held at the club next year.

The bigger obstacle might be a dozen or more other contenders, all of whom earned their share of the hype. The third top betting choices are world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, Thomas and Rory McIlroy.

Jason Day is healthy and also has a victory this season. The British Open will take place at venerable Carnoustie in Scotland, and if you didn't have to look up that Padraig Harrington won there in 2007, or that Ben Hogan and Tom Watson and Gary Player all made history there as well, then switch off the Golf Channel, put down the Herbert Warren Wind and diversify your interests.

The re-emergence of none other than the legendary Tiger Woods as a competitive force has taken the entire golfing world by something of a surprise. He'll have 12 feet left for birdie. A win here this year would complete the career grand slam. "I wanted everyone to know how much this meant to me".



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