Tiger Woods will go in search of Major number 15 today knowing that if he fails and fellow countryman Phil Mickelson triumphs instead, he will lose his world number one spot.
Woods, who has only played four tournaments since returning to golf after numerous revelations about his private life caused him to take a break, has led the rankings since 2005.
It’s the first time in 12 years Tiger Woods is not the outright bookmakers’ favourite ahead of a Major, but the course is one of Woods’ favourites and after a more promising showing at the Memorial, where the 34-year-old finished inside the top 20, there are signs of a return to form.
“I only had a few weeks to get ready for Augusta after being off for quite a while. Now I’ve been playing tournament golf basically since April,” said Woods.
“I’m starting to find out how much I can and can’t push myself each and every day as far as practice. It’s great to be back. The more I play, the more I get my feel back.”
Meanwhile, Mickelson could claim the world number one spot with a second-place finish if Woods finishes outside the top four, and there are other various ways in which Woods could be toppled.