20 Masters practice rounds would not be sufficient to back Woods

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For a man boasting 14 Major titles, Tiger Woods resembles a pretty sorry state of affairs ahead of the 2015 Masters, a tournament he has won four times in the past.

Although the anniversary of his last Masters triumph is approaching the 10-year mark, historically Woods has handled one of golf’s toughest challenges with aplomb.

As well as the quartet of Green Jackets hanging in the famous Champions Locker Room at Augusta National, one of the game’s true greats boasts outstanding figures over the years in Georgia.

Since claiming his fourth title in 2005, Woods has registered seven top-five finishes, plus a sixth, with a tie for 40th in 2012 his worst result other than one missed cut (1996) in 19 attempts.

As course affinities go, few could be deemed stronger. However, it’s time to throw some cold water in the face of all this nostalgia with news that a week ahead of the year’s first major, Tiger has visited Augusta National for a practice round.

In previous years no one would have blinked an eye, other than those members lucky enough to get a photo with him, but this year the protocol is in a very different context.

Woods has not been seen on the PGA Tour since posting an 11-over-par score at the Phoenix Open, the worst scorecard of his career, before pulling out after just 11 holes of the Farmers Insurance Open shortly afterwards in February.

Plagued by issues with his swing following a succession of injuries in recent years, Woods has now slipped outside the top 100 in the world and the iconic American is yet to confirm whether his self-imposed exile will even be lifted for the Masters.

Given his impeccable record at golf’s most prestigious Major, many punters eyes may light up at the sound of 40/1 on Woods, however, in his current form the great man looks one to swerve at all costs.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.