Tiger Woods, 24 and going strong at the Masters - Hindustan Times
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Tiger Woods, 24 and going strong at the Masters

ByJoy Chakravarty
Apr 13, 2024 11:27 PM IST

On Friday, the 48-year-old added another significant achievement to his resume with the record for the most consecutive cuts made

There comes a point in the career of legends in any sport when everything they do breaks some record. Tiger Woods is right there.

Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during third round at the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Augusta, Ga.(AP)
Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during third round at the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Augusta, Ga.(AP)

On Friday at the 88th Masters tournament, the 48-year-old added another significant achievement to his resume when he made a 24th straight cut and went ahead of the record held by Fred Couples and Gary Player.

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It’s a tribute to the longevity and consistency of his career at the highest level, but what is most remarkable about what the 15-time major champion is doing right now is how he is extending both those attributes against all odds.

Anybody with the slightest knowledge of the human body would agree that Woods should not be doing what he is doing.

An orthopaedician would struggle to find bones in his body that have not taken a beating over the years, or manually altered. A psychologist might have the answer – Woods really has mastered the art of mind over matter.

Even as he finished a par second round (1-over par total) and was eight shots behind the leader at that time (seven eventually), the only thought in his mind was that he could still win a sixth Green Jacket.

“It means I have a chance going into the weekend. I’m here. I have a chance to win the golf tournament,” said Woods, playing only his second full 72-hole championship since pulling out of the Masters last year when the plantar fasciitis in his right foot aggravated.

“Yeah, I’m tired. I’ve been out for a while, competing, grinding. It’s been a long 23 holes, a long day. But Lance (Bennett, his caddie) and I really did some good fighting today, and we’ve got a chance.”

The fact that he played 23 holes, with just a 52-minute turnaround time between the end of his first round and the start of his second, was impressive. Even more remarkable was the conditions in which he played those 23 holes.

Friday was brutal at Augusta National Golf Club. After rains drenched the course on Thursday, it was time for swirling winds, gusting up to 40 miles per hour at times, to become a relentless adversary. It blew the sand out of bunkers, and moved the balls on the greens. Gauging distance and direction, a golfer’s bread and butter, became a task. Average scores soared to 75.07.

Add to it the hilly terrain of Augusta National that keeps testing the pain threshold of Woods' fused ankle and spine, and the even-par 72 was worth its weight in gold.

The one shot that really stood out for Woods was his second from 257 yards to the slender, and dangerous, par-5 15th green. The hole was playing tough and into the wind, and most players were laying up short with their second. Those going for the green in two were having trouble holding the ball on it.

Not Woods.

The second shot, with a three-wood, was imperious. A towering beauty that battled through the wind without deviating from the target; landed on the rock-hard green and magically stopped on the putting surface.

It was yet another reminder of what the great man was capable of.

Playing alongside was joint leader Max Homa (-6), and he was full of admiration for Woods’ stoicism and resoluteness.

“He understands this golf course so well, but he hits such amazing golf shots. His iron play is so good that even when he did miss the green, you could tell he had so much control,” said Homa.

“And on the 18th, we had sandblasts for 45 seconds, and I turned around five times so I didn’t get crushed in the face, and he’s standing there like a statue. He then poured the putt right in the middle.”

Woods, tied 21st after 36 holes, plays his third round in the company of England’s Tyrrell Hatton in the third round, which got underway in perfect conditions on Saturday.

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