AUGUSTA, Ga. – When Tiger Woods slipped on a green jacket in 2005 to mark his fourth title at the Masters, he had to figure that he might be featured in at least one more victory ceremony at Augusta National Golf Club over the next seven years.
And if someone had suggested to him then that wouldn’t have happened?
“I wouldn’t have been happy with that,” Woods said Tuesday at his pre-Masters press conference.
It’s not that Woods has been a non-factor since then. If you throw out last year’s tie for 40th, Woods has finished top-6 or better six times, including runnerup finishes in 2007 (by two strokes to Zach Johnson) and 2008 (by three strokes to Trevor Immelman).
Woods, who has regained the top spot in the world golf rankings, will try again starting Thursday to win his fifth green jacket at Augusta National, a feat that would put him second on the all-time list behind Jack Nicklaus’ six. He currently has 14 career majors but hasn't won one since the 2008 U.S. Open.
“I put myself in the mix every year but last year,” he said of his recent Masters performances. “The misleading part is that it’s not like I’ve been out of there with no chance of winning this championship. I’ve been there, and unfortunately just haven’t gotten it done. I’ve made runs to get myself back in it.
“I’ve been there in the mix on the back nine and either not executed, not made enough putts, or didn’t take care of the par-5’s, or whatever it may be. Obviously I’m not real happy with the fact that I haven’t won more.”
In 2011, he electrified the masses by shooting a 5-under 31 on the front nine of his final round and rocketing into a share of the lead. But he missed a pair of putts from inside 4 feet on the back nine and wound up tied for fourth.
With three victories in 2013, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in his most recent start, Woods comes into the Masters with a lot of confidence and “feeling very comfortable with where things are at,” he said.
“I feel comfortable with every aspect of my game,” he said. “I feel that I’ve improved and I’ve gotten more consistent, and I think the wins show that. That’s something that I’m proud of so far this year, and hopefully I can continue it this week and the rest of the year.”