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Woods hunt for 15th Masters

International Sports

Tiger Woods brace for win in Augustas  Tiger Woods brace for win in Augustas Former number one Tiger Woods believes he is in the right shape to win a 15th major as he declared himself ready for the Masters, which begins on Thursday.

Woods, who is now world 111, has been working on his game since carding a career-worst score of 82 at the Phoenix Open, before injury saw him withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I felt like I had to get my game into a spot where I could compete to win a golf tournament," said the 39-year-old.

"And it's finally there."

Woods has not won a major since the 2008 US Open and the last of his four Masters wins was a decade ago, with the Californian only confirming on Friday that he would compete at Augusta.

He impressed in his practice round on Monday, showing no signs of the chipping "yips" which blighted his performance in Phoenix. Woods completed the front nine at Augusta alongside long-time friend Mark O'Meara, before playing the 10th and 18th alone.

"I felt good. It was nice to get out here," he added. "Chipping is fine. I wanted to test out some wedges out here. That was why I was chipping a little bit more. It came down to a couple of different bounce settings because it's different from Florida. We figured the right one out."

Europe Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke says "nobody knows" how the American will perform.

He said: "What Tiger is going to turn up this week? That's one of the conundrums. He could be brilliant, but he might not be."

German Martin Kaymer, a two-time major winner, hopes Woods can "compete as well as he can".

The 30-year-old said: "We all know when he's around, somehow it does make us play better."

Meanwhile, current world number one Rory McIlroy says he has learned from Woods, whom he describes as the "best player I have ever seen".

"To think not so long ago I was that little boy watching him on television," said the 25-year-old Northern Ireland player, who has won four majors.

"I'm very lucky to have been able to get close to him and learn some stuff."

McIlroy added that the things he has taken from watching Woods - a four-time champion at Augusta - will help him achieve a career slam, having already won the Open, US Open and US PGA.

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