He may be deep into the back nine of his career at the top level but Tiger Woods says he expects to contend at The Masters for many more years to come.
Defending champion Woods makes his 23rd appearance at Augusta National this week and, as a five-time winner, has a lifetime exemption to play in the tournament.
Jack Nicklaus currently holds the record for being the oldest player ever to win the Green Jacket, having been 46 years and 82 days when he won his 18th major championship in 1986.
However, judging by his comments today, 44-year-old Woods is confident of claiming that particular crown for himself.
Asked if he believes he can contend in The Masters “for years to come”, Woods replied: “Yes, I do. You look at Freddie [Couples] and Bernhard [Langer]. They are in their 60s and they seem to contend. Jack contended here when he was, what, 58, or 56, 58, whatever it was.
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“It can be done. This is a golf course in which having an understanding how to play and where to miss it and how to hit the shots around here, it helps.”
Whilst acknowledging that it gets “a little bit more difficult as I've gotten older”, Woods added: “When I first came here, it was a lot of drivers and a lot of wedges. Now it's a little bit different and a little bit longer clubs into the holes, but still understanding how to play it definitely helps.
“That's one of the reasons why you see past champions, like I mentioned Freddie and Bernhard, to be able to contend so late in their careers, and hopefully I'll be one of those guys.”
As for his prospects of becoming the first player to win The Masters back-to-back on two separate occasions, Woods will have to improve upon his recent form.
“I haven't put it together at the same time,” he said. “I haven't played a lot, obviously. I’ve only played six events. But it's been gearing up for the major championships and trying to understand what we have to deal with, you know, this year with COVID and trying to be safe.
“I was hesitant to come back and start playing, and that's why I waited as long as I did and came back at Memorial. From there, I really haven't as I said, I haven't put all the pieces together but hopefully that will be this week.”