With few changes to the course this year, Tiger Woods decided he didn't need to visit Augusta National for an early practice round prior to Masters week.
Instead he's staying home in Florida as Phil Mickelson and many of his other rivals play the Shell Houston Open, which is nominally set up to create shots similar to ones the players will face at Augusta National. In a message from TigerWoods.com, Woods talked about his anticipation of the year's first major and the end of his six-month winning streak.
"They haven't made many changes to the course, so I'm not going to play an early practice round this week," Woods said "I'll keep working at home with Hank Haney and try to sharpen my game. I know they removed some trees along the right side of No. 11; added 10 yards to the front of the first tee in case the wind blows; and tweaked the seventh and ninth greens.
"The bottom line: It's going to be long and difficult, and you're going to have to have all aspects of your game firing. The only thing we don't know is what the wind is going to do."
Woods said he hopes his winning streak, which Geoff Ogilvy ended at Doral two weeks ago, will give him positive momentum going into Augusta.
"Ever since I joined the PGA Tour in 1996, my goal has always been to win every tournament," Woods said. "That's just the way I think. If you don't feel that way, why enter? Although I got off to a great start this year by winning my first four events, including Dubai, I knew it was unlikely I would go undefeated. That didn't stop me from trying.
"As I've often said, you need a little luck and a few good breaks to
win tournaments. I had my share at the Buick Invitational,
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational,
but came up short at Doral. Geoff Ogilvy chipped in at a critical time
and that's what you need to win."
The other big news in Woodsworld is Tiger Jam X1, a benefit for his foundation, which will take place April 19 in Las Vegas.
"We've had many great musicians in the past and couldn't be more
excited to welcome Van Halen, who are re-launching their concert tour,"
Woods said. "I'm a big fan of the band and look forward to a great
It's nice to see that he identified Van Halen as a band and not a
person. In an earlier message, Woods said of Van Halen, "I've already
seen him play twice in concert this year."
Somehow we expected more from a California guy.
For more information on Woods, including an archive of SI stories for every major championship, go to the Tiger Tracker. (Photo: Tiger Woods during a practice round at the 2007 Masters, by Fred Vuich/SI)