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PGA Golf

Tiger Woods back at Augusta after struggling through round earlier in week

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Tiger Woods seems hellbent on at least testing his game at Augusta National to determine if it could stand up to the treacherous tournament setup at the Masters next week. Unfortunately for the slumping golfer, the results thus far haven’t been too encouraging.

Golf Channel reports that Woods was spotted on the practice range at Augusta Friday morning and the word is he intends to play a round later in the day. Friday’s practice stroll around the hallowed course hopefully goes better for Woods than it did on Tuesday.

Reports indicated that Woods played unevenly during his round Tuesday, shooting a 2-over 74 under conditions lacking any semblance of pressure, as he reportedly played with two Augusta members. The five birdies he notched were encouraging but Golfweek reports there was “good news and bad news” for Woods, including “plenty of lowlights” that featured “several indifferent chips, including one that went through the green and into a bunker.”

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte adds that before Friday’s arrival at Augusta, Woods practice the previous day with caddie Joe LaCava at The Medalist Golf Club, his home course, in Hobe Sound, Fla.

Earlier reports this week from Rosaforte indicated that Woods recently carded a 66 at Medalist under “worst ball” conditions, meaning he hit two balls and then played from the less ideal position. Rosaforte also noted that Woods had to prove each birdie putt by knocking another one in from the same distance.

Woods of course has been on sabbatical from tournament golf since withdrawing from Farmers Insurance Open on Feb. 6. Pulling out of that tournament followed some troubling and poor play in late 2014/early 2015 that featured struggles that some have attributed to a case of the “yips.” For the first time in forever, Woods this week dropped out of the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

In any event, how all these recent rounds at Medalist and Augusta National plays into his mindset — and the state of his game — is unclear, as is Woods’ intentions related to the Masters next week. But all signs certainly point to Woods doing everything possible to make sure he’s in the field come Thursday.