Tiger traditionally starts slow at Masters

April, 4, 2012
4/04/12
12:11
PM ET

AP Photo/Rob CarrTiger Woods is the favorite to win his fifth green jacket at Augusta.

Not only is Tiger Woods coming off his first PGA TOUR win since 2009, but he also comes into the Masters hoping to pick up where he left off at last year’s event.

In 2011, Woods shot a career-best Sunday round of 67 at the Masters. He played the first nine in 31, tying his career-best score on the first nine at Augusta.

Historically, Woods’ worst round at the Masters has been the first, where his average has been 72.1. (Also, the first hole is Woods' worst at Augusta, +16. He’s birdied it only four times as a pro, with 18 bogeys and one double bogey.) His second-round average is 70.4; 69.8 in the third; 70.6 in the fourth.

Only once since 2001 has Woods posted a score in the 60s in the first round (68 in 2010).

Despite being a slow starter, Woods has made the cut every year since 1997, which is the longest active streak at the Masters (see chart).

Woods has never led the Masters wire-to-wire. In fact, no one has pulled that off since Raymond Floyd in 1976. When Woods won his most recent Masters in 2005, he was tied for 33rd after 18 holes.

Woods ended his winless streak two weeks ago, now he will try to end his drought at majors. Since winning the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, 14 majors have been played without a Woods victory, although he did not play in four of those events.

If Woods wins, he would be the 14th different winners in the last 14 majors. South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel is the defending champion, and will attempt to join Woods on a short list of players who have won this event in back-to-back years: Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Woods (2001-02).
Charl Schwartzel
Schwartzel

Schwartzel tees off at 2:24 ET on Thursday. However, there are two prominent South Africans not in the field, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen. Els’ streak of consecutive Masters appearances has come to an end at 18. Goosen also did not qualify, and will miss the Masters for the first time since 1999.

The first round tees off early on Thursday; however, recent history has said the winner will most likely come from the final group on Sunday.

Since 1991, only two Masters Tournament champions were not in Sunday’s final group: Zach Johnson in 2007 was in the third-to-last group, and Schwartzel was in the second-to-last group last season.

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