Woods likes old-timers' chances at Masters after Mickelson revival

Sports | 9 Mar 2018

Tiger Woods warned the new wave of young golfers like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas that he and Phil Mickelson could be forces to reckon with at next month's US Masters.

Woods drew the biggest galleries during practice for the Valspar Championship and at the Pro-Am and is keen to build on his 12th place at the Honda Classic in his most recent event following his return to action after back problems.

Woods applauded Mickelson's playoff win at last week's World Golf Championship in Mexico over PGA Championship winner Thomas.

"I thought it was great. He's been playing well. I mean he played well at the end of last year and got off to a great start this year. He's been in contention a few times," Woods said of the 47-year-old Mickelson, his long-time rival. "What Phil is doing is showing us we can still do it later on in our careers. For me, I'm ecstatic to have a chance to play again and to have a chance to win tournaments and compete."

Woods returned to the gym to build up his strength after the Honda Classic two weeks ago. "I know people are saying that I've been erratic, a little inconsistent. But 10 rounds, it's not that many."

The 42-year-old American said he was fine-tuning his game and plans a visit to Augusta to prepare for the April 5-8 Masters, marking his first appearance in a major since 2015. Woods said it might not be wise to dismiss veteran players who have had success at Augusta.

"Jordan Spieth has always played well. But I'm not going to put it out of the realm if Freddie Couples feels good, he's still in the mix. Bernhard Langer is still in the mix. Phil, myself, Bubba Watson, a few others ... we know how to play the course. It fits us," said Woods.

REUTERS

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