Can Tiger Woods still win the Masters at 43?

The leader board is ready at Augusta National

"We were trying to balance providing the women competitors with the opportunity to be at Augusta National, to have a championship decided at Augusta National, but yet be cognizant of the fact that we were just a few days away from the Masters Tournament", he said.

The 83 edition of the tournament gets underway on Thursday at its traditional home of Augusta, Georgia, and Woods' group will be the 15 out on the course of the Augusta National Golf Club on the opening day.

"I mean, it was a long year, but we had an opportunity to win at Shinnecock (at the U.S. Open)".

Mickelson already has a career befitting one of the game's greats, having spent over 25 years on the PGA tour, with 195 top-10 finishes, 44 PGA championships and five major wins.

"I feel like I can win", said Woods, who won four times here.

"Every time I come out here and practise, I pick up a little something here or there that I did not know on how to play a certain shot from a certain position to a certain pin".

He may not be the favorite - Rory McIlroy is the leading fancy - but the possibility of Woods resuming his major quest by adding a 15th, 11 years after his last, is quite the redemption tale. "I put myself there with chances on the back nine on various Sundays and just haven't done it". "After I won my 14th, I felt like I still had plenty more major championships that I could win, but unfortunately I just didn't do it".

Even without Woods, the Masters is the one golf event even non golfers are glued to.

The trio are followed 11 minutes later by five-time major victor Phil Mickelson, world number one golfer Justin Rose and Justin Thomas.

"I just feel like I've improved a lot over the past 12, 14 months", said Woods, whose injury return was in its embryonic stages when he teed it up previous year.

The world No. 3, who had another close call a year ago when he began the final round three shots behind eventual victor Patrick Reed, said the pressure he puts on himself at Augusta National compared to his previous appearances has changed. "I'm definitely going to fatten everyone up", he said. Now ranked No 39 in the world, Li's best performance at a major remains his third-place finish at the 2017 British Open.

But a victory in the Tour Championship last year not only showed he can still compete and win at the highest level but gave Woods some sorely needed confidence heading into the first major of the year.

Affectionately regarded as the "Cathedral of Pines", the 7,475-yard Augusta National layout is one of the most famous golf courses in the world and the only permanent venue for any of the sport's four majors. I think that gets in my own way sometimes - or at least it has the past couple years.

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