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Weve got a different Tiger here at Masters

Weve got a different Tiger here at Masters
weve-got-a-different-tiger-here-at-masters


For a moment, as the news conference moderator Cheap NBA Basketball Jerseys reminded everyone that this was Tiger Woods' 20th appearance at the Masters, Woods smiled and shook his head in resignation, disbelief, and perhaps in pride, too. He first played in this tournament as an amateur in 1995. He was as thin as a flagstick and finished tied for 41st. That was four green jackets and 14 major wins ago. And here he still is, just back from a self-imposed golf sabbatical ... less than nine months shy of his 40th birthday ... ranked a this-must-be-a-misprint 111th in the world, and Woods remains convinced his game is good enough to win the Masters again. "I worked my ass off," Woods said Tuesday. "That's the easiest way to kind of describe it ... it was sunup to sundown." Two months ago it looked as if his career was approaching sunset. He had glute issues, short-game issues -- and it goes to figure, confidence issues. When you watched him play, you didn't know whether to turn away or send him a condolence card. Woods left the PGA Tour in early February and nobody knew when he would return. And when he did come back, would he be Tiger, or Tiger Lite, or a shadow of a shadow of Tiger? Now we know. Or at least we know this version of Woods seems different from the one we usually see at a major. Remember that guy? He had on his game face Andrew Hawkins Youth Jersey the moment he took the turn onto Magnolia Lane. The deflector shields were powered up and in full use. He was a shark, and the field was his chum. That's the way Woods approached it. That was the only way he knew how to approach it. And then there was the guy who showed up this week at Augusta National. I'm still doing a double take. This Tiger Woods already is leading the Masters in Most Hugs on the Practice Range. He hugged other players. He hugged his former coach Sean Foley. Had he hugged a sports writer, I would have fainted. He wore earbuds on the range, listened to hip-hop and couldn't help himself: He sort of danced. In front of the other players and in front of the assembled patrons. Tiger Woods did this. He played nine holes with his former buddy Mark O'Meara two days in a row. O'Meara and Woods, in essence, had been estranged in recent years. He hugged his two kids, Charlie and Sam, on the practice range, who were there with his girlfriend, Olympic gold medal-winning alpine skier Lindsey Vonn. And his kids will be caddying for him in Wednesday's Par 3 Contest, the first time Woods has played it since 2004. He yukked it up Monday. He even yukked it up http://www.nfl49ersofficialauthentic.com/Tramaine-Brock-Jersey Tuesday at the news conference. He wasn't Chris Rock/Louis C.K. funny, but he tried. And in the past, Woods hadn't tried much. Not with his peers, and certainly not with the media. He sounded slightly different. He acted slightly different. It was a matter of degrees, but degrees count for something. Maybe it's his age -- 39 and counting. Maybe it's how injuries (back surgery) and -- how did Rory McIlroy put it earlier in the day? -- the fickleness of golf. It can humiliate the very best, including Woods. "I'm trying to beat everybody out there," he said. "That hasn't changed ... The only difference is that, yeah, I won the Masters when Jordan [Spieth] was still in diapers." That's not entirely true. Spieth, one of the Masters favorites this week, was born in July 1993. Woods won his first Masters in April 1997. On two separate occasions during his State of the Tiger news conference, reporters asked him about this more relaxed Woods. And that's when the deflector shields made an appearance. Question: " ... you just seem looser. Do you agree?" Woods: "Yeah, I'm a lot more flexible." And ... Question: " ... you certainly are different. You've got kids and you're a little bit, shall we say, friendlier." Woods: "To you?" Will Woods win this week? It's an interesting question because a week ago we didn't know if he was even going to play. And, if he did play, could he make the cut? But that was before he showed up Monday at Anthony Barr Authentic Jersey the practice range and started hitting chip shot after chip shot, pitch shot after pitch shot. He did that first, in front of the patrons and all the other players on the range at the time (who, don't kid yourself, were sneaking peeks). It was as if he wanted to prove to them that his short game wasn't still in surgery. "This week is probably the most significant week of his career," three-time Masters champion Gary Player said. "If he can go out there and he can play well and get the confidence and restore this confidence, it would be wonderful." It would be more than wonderful. It would add another storyline to a week full of them: McIlroy trying to win his first Masters and complete the career Grand Slam at age 25 ... Bubba Watson trying to go back-to-back on green jackets ... Ben Crenshaw playing in his final Masters ...

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