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Tiger Woods Returns to Augusta on Friday for More Masters Prep

Masters Memories: Alan Shipnuck on Seeing Tiger for the First Time
Sports Illustrated senior writer Alan Shipnuck remembers the first time he saw Tiger Woods play in person, during Woods' historic victory at the 1997 Masters.

Tiger Woods is back. Back at Augusta National that is.

According to a Golf Channel report, the four-time Masters champ is back at Augusta practicing on Friday morning.

Woods has already played one practice round this week and reportedly finished with a 2-over 74, according to Golfweek. The good news? The report said he made five birdies. The bad news? He hadn't fully exorcised his chipping demons and watched one chip shot fly the green and land in a bunker. Though, as PGA Tour pro and Fox Sports golf analyst Steve Flesch pointed out on Twitter, few Tour pros play a practice round with one ball to keep score.

Hank Haney, Woods' swing coach from 2004-10, revealed on Twitter that Woods failed to break 80 in two practice rounds before the 2010 Masters, his first competitive round after his 2009 scandal and a five-month layoff that followed. Woods finished fourth, five shots behind winner Phil Mickelson.

In an interview with 120 Sports, Webb Simpson said he watched Woods' Tuesday practice round at Augusta and saw no visible signs of injury.

MORE MASTERS: Ranking Tiger's Worst Masters Moments | Is Rory Assured A Victory?

"He looked like he was going at it pretty full," Simpson said. "I knew if he had back trouble or if anything was bothering him he would have had a cart because they let you ride out there if you need a cart. And Augusta's tough to walk, and he was right there with his guys every hole. Plus in hearing what I've heard about how much he's been playing in Florida, I think he's hungry for it, and he's ready to get back."

Woods has no deadline to announce his intentions to play or not to play in his 20th career Masters. After participating in every Masters since 1995, Woods missed his first event last year due to a back injury.

"I don't care what he says, he loves the suspense," Simpson said. "If he's coming, he knows he's coming already. He loves keeping everyone on the edge of their seat."

Photo:

Tiger Woods at his last Masters victory in 2005.

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