Just over 40 days away from the first tee shots being struck at Augusta National Golf Club signifying the start of the 2020 Masters, the 2019 champion, Tiger Woods, joined a conference call with reporters on Tuesday to reminisce and look ahead.
“It’s been incredible for myself and my family to be a part of this and for me to be the current Masters champion, it’s crazy that somehow it all came together for one week, one magical week, and to have so many things go right that week, and that’s what you have to do in order to win an event,” Woods began the call. “But to do it there, there’s so many little things that have to go right, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have done it four previous times, but last year was just an amazing week.”
Woods expects the 2020 Masters to be just as memorable, and as soon as he wrapped up his Presidents Cup player-captain duties in Australia in December, the first thing on his mind was Augusta.
“Once that was done, my prep has been just like it usually is. It’s, what do I need to do to get ready for the Masters?” Woods said. “I’ve been fortunate to have done this now five times, and to try and have everything peak together for just an incredible week, it’s hard to do.
“It’s hard to try and get all the shots and have everything dialed in.”
.@TigerWoods previews his fifth Champions Dinner menu.
“Born and raised in Southern California, and with it playing a part of my entire childhood, we’ll be having steak and chicken fajitas, plus sushi and sashimi out on the deck. We’re still debating milkshakes.” pic.twitter.com/7KAIwAfcYP
— The Masters (@TheMasters) February 25, 2020
One thing he won’t have to worry too much about in the build-up to the first major of the season is what he’ll be serving at Tuesday night’s Champions Dinner. That decision has already been made, at least for the most part.
“Being born and raised in SoCal, having fajitas and sushi was a part of my entire childhood, and I’m going back to what I had in 2006,” Woods said. “So we’ll have steak and chicken fajitas, and we’ll have sushi and sashimi out on the deck, and I hope the guys will enjoy it.
“I’m debating whether or not to have milkshakes as desserts because that was one of the greatest memories to see Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead having milkshakes that night in ’98.”
Tiger’s a seasoned vet when it comes to hosting one of the most exclusive dinner clubs in all of golf having won the green jacket on four occasions prior to 2019’s triumph. However, last year’s victory was made even more special by the fact that his daughter, Sam, and son, Charlie, were able to be in attendance for the final round.
“I think what made it so special is that they saw me fail the year before at the British Open,” he said. “I had gotten the lead there and made bogey, double, and ended up losing to Francesco (Molinari).
“So to have them experience what it feels like to be part of a major championship and watch their dad fail and not get it done, and now to be a part of it and when I did get it done, I think it’s two memories that they will never forget; and the embraces and the hugs and the excitement, because they know how I felt and what it felt like when I lost at Carnoustie.
“To have the complete flip with them in less than a year, it was very fresh in their minds. Just watching them fight over the green jacket on the airplane was pretty funny. ‘I want to wear it; no, I want to wear it.’ That’s something I certainly will never forget.”
While Woods’ prep for Augusta mentally began in December, at 44 years old, his physical preparation has changed due to an aging body and condensed PGA Tour schedule.
“It’s weather dependent,” Woods said of his schedule in the weeks prior to the event. “Last year, the plan was to practice and prepare, and after the WGC-Match Play, I started to figure something out where I felt comfortable hitting the ball high and turning it over from right to left and I felt like I could control it.
“Going into that week, I really had amazing control of not only my tee shots but my iron shots, and the amount of time that I spent putting, getting a feel for it, and then coming in there on that Sunday afternoon and getting a nice quiet round out there, that set the tone for what I did the rest of the week.”
Woods opted out of last week’s WGC-Mexico Championship as well as this week’s Honda Classic. Prevailing wisdom suggests Woods will get starts three through five over the following five weeks at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Players Championship, a week off and then the WGC-Match Play before another week break before the Masters kicks off on April 9.