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Woods to follow familiar 'blueprint' for Masters title defense

(Reuters) - Tiger Woods said on Tuesday that he will prepare for this year’s Masters in much the same way as in 2019 when he ended an 11-year wait for a major title with a remarkable triumph at Augusta National.

FILE PHOTO: February 14, 2020; Pacific Palisades, California, USA; Tiger Woods hits out of the fourteenth hole bunker during the second round of the The Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Woods completed an extraordinary return from spinal fusion surgery he underwent in 2017, producing one of the most emotional finishes in tournament history as he came from behind to win by one shot last April.

“The plan is to prepare the same way,” Woods said on a Masters champion conference call. “It worked last year, so yeah, I’ve got a blueprint for what I need to do and hopefully I can have the same feelings.”

Woods, who has competed in three official PGA Tour events this season, did not reveal his playing schedule ahead of the April 9-12 Masters but did say that he is doing everything he can to peak at the year’s first major.

The former world number one said he turned his focus to his Masters title defense last December, when his duties as a playing captain for the victorious U.S. squad in the Presidents Cup in Australia came to a close.

“Once that was done, my prep has been just like it usually is -- (that) is ‘what do I need to do to get ready for the Masters?’,” said the five-times Masters champion.

“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.”

Woods said his latest triumph was all the more special because his two children were there to witness the moment after being on hand for his close call at the previous year’s British Open.

After sealing his triumph, Woods enjoyed an emotional embrace with the youngsters, who later had their own battle for his coveted victor’s Green Jacket.

“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 when I did get it done, I think it’s two memories that they will never forget,” said Woods.

“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!’ -- and that’s something I certainly will never forget.”

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ian Chadband

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