'He'll Contend' - Couples In Awe After Tiger Woods Practice Round

The former-Masters champion was impressed with Tiger's physical condition and the state of his game after playing with him on Monday

Fred Couples during 2022 Masters practice round
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tiger Woods returned to Augusta National to play a nine-hole Monday practice round with former-Masters champion, Fred Couples, and World No.7 Justin Thomas. In the months leading up to the tournament, Woods remained coy about a potential return but his recent visits to Augusta have left many impressed with his physical condition and the state of his game - including Couples.

After the round, the former-Masters champion said: "To hit it like that, now it’s just the walking part. If he can walk around here in 72 holes, he’ll contend. He’s too good. He’s too good."

The 62-year old continued: "What impresses me the most is he was bombing it for one. I know JT is not the longest hitter on the Tour, but I know he's damn long. He was with him flushing it."

Whilst Woods previously stated it will be a "game time decision" as to whether he will compete come Thursday, Couples was almost sure he will be in the field: “He's doing all this to play in this, which is impressive in itself, because I'm telling you, you guys walk, you follow players. It's brutal to walk, and to go through what he's gone through, whatever it is, 14 months ago, to be playing today? I hope everything keeps going Tuesday and Wednesday and I'm sure he's going to tee it up Thursday.’’

Woods was greeted on each tee with audible cheers and a presence comparable to that of a Sunday afternoon as if he was in contention. Those on the ground marveled at his game and reported that he was chipping and putting to various hole locations; a sign he intends to stick around for the tournament. 

The five-time Masters champion was joined by caddie, Joe LaCava, who was on the bag for Couples during his 1992 Masters win. LaCava previously commented that "he likes the way his guy looks".

James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.