Tiger Woods is ready to compete at the 2015 Masters tournament and even believes his game is "finally there" after completing a practice round at the famous Augusta course on Monday.
Woods spent much of the session "hitting pitch shots and putts from various spots on the greens" alongside 1998 Masters winner Mark O'Meara, according to Bob Harig of ESPN.co.uk.
This public display was perhaps intentional as Woods' last handful of outings were summarised by poor approach play. Harig indicated the American missed only three greens along his 11-hole tester, while Woods himself confirmed he feels tournament-ready after his latest practice, per Sky Sports:
I felt good. It was nice to get out here.
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.
It's been a process. But I'm on the good side now. It's progression. I felt like I had to get my game into a spot where I could compete to win a golf tournament and it's finally there.
O'Meara believes Woods will be eager to impress when the competition starts, per Sky Sports: "He is in a good place and I think he is fired up about it. He will be nervous on Thursday, but I think he will be fine. He hit a couple of shots that were a little off but a lot of quality shots."
Woods has, of course, captured four victories at the event, although none since 2005. Constantly in search of the turning point that will reignite his career, Tiger's poor recent form ensures he'll need to overcome extraordinary attention to do so.
His career-worst score of 82 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open lives on from January and many onlookers are itching to determine whether the golfing great can seriously still be considered a major contender.
Woods' recent back problems will also be closely inspected. He withdrew from February's Farmers Insurance Open after just 11 holes through pain which obviously limited his play. As such, perhaps just finishing the Masters with a solid score would be deemed a success for the veteran. A relaxed, drama-free showing would serve as an excellent route back into the busy schedule.
As reported during ESPN.com's recent survey of 103 PGA Tour players, 62.1 percent believe Woods will win another major before retiring. Interestingly, only seven percent of those who answered before the 2014-15 tour season suggested he wouldn't capture another victory. The mark rises to 49 percent when solely judging those who responded after Woods' 2015 showings.
Ranked 111th in the world, Woods is facing one of the toughest challenges of his career. He's got to the stage where reputation seems to outweigh capability. Practice rounds at Augusta are great, but under the intense global spotlight on Thursday, Woods' character will really need to shine through.
Form, fitness and luck will be needed if he's to secure the green jacket. Top competitors such as Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson can be considered among those who could go all the way in a world-class field. If Woods can rank near this trio, the weekend will be labelled a success.