TIGER WOODS may not feel the need to win another Masters title, but anyone questioning his desire to claim a fifth green jacket this week probably needs to think again.
Woods has not won a major since the 2008 US Open but his return to form last year was a sensation.
The 43-year-old came close to winning both the Open Championship and US PGA, and then did storm to victory at September’s Tour Championship.
He may not have been in the best form in the six months since then but Woods is still drawing on that success as he heads into the first major of the year.
Asked how much he wants to win this week, Woods said: ‘I don’t really need to win again. I really want to.
‘There were a couple of events over the course of my career, major championship-wise, I needed to win. One, don’t blow the lead I had in ‘97, because of what just happened the previous year.
‘Greg (Norman) lost a six-shot lead. I didn’t want to lose a nine-shot lead, so I was able to win that one.
‘And then to win here in ‘01 to complete all four in a row, that’s never been done. So I don’t know how many more chances I’m ever going to get to do that again.Probably not many, if at all, ever again in my career, and the build-up going into that event, that’s nine months of just getting asked the same question. Yeah, I needed to win that one to get all four.’
Woods looked likely to surpass Jack Nicklaus’s record tally of 18 major titles when he won his 14th in 2008 but is as surprised as anyone else to have so far drawn a blank. ‘Yeah, I would say that I wouldn’t have foreseen that for sure,’ added Woods, whose chances of more major glory were hit by injuries that almost ended his career as well as the scandals in his private life.
‘After I won my 14th, I felt like I still had plenty more majors I could win but unfortunately I just didn’t do it. I put myself there with chances on the back nine on various Sundays and haven’t done it. Hopefully this year I put myself there again and hopefully I’ll get it done.’
Reflecting on the importance of his superb 2018, Woods added: ‘It proved to me that I could win again. From the struggles I’ve had the last few years, to lead from day one and end up winning wire-to-wire made it that much more special.’
■ 18 — Under par, the lowest total at the Masters, shared by Tiger Woods in 1997 and Jordan Spieth in 2015
■ 6 — Record number of victories, for Jack Nicklaus, who won the tournament in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1986
■ 63 — Course record at Augusta, shared by Nick Price and Greg Norman
■ RORY McILROY will be able to keep a keen eye on the progress of Masters rival Tiger Woods following the draw for the opening two rounds. Woods will tee off alongside China’s Li Haotong and Spain’s Jon Rahm, with McIlroy in the following group with last year’s runner-up Rickie Fowler and Australian Cameron Smith.