When Tiger Woods tees it up in the first round of the Masters April 8, he will be playing his 59th round at Augusta National. He has been paired with 42 players – some multiple times, none more than Stewart Cink (six times):
Here’s the list: Aaron Baddeley (4), Adam Scott, Andres Romero, Angel Cabrera (4), Ben Crenshaw, Bubba Dickerson (2), Carlos Franco (2), Casey Wittenberg (2), Chris DiMarco (2), Colin Montgomerie (2), Constantino Rocca, Curtis Strange, Darren Clarke (2), David Howell, Davis Love III (2), Edoardo Molinari (2), Fuzzy Zoeller, Graeme McDowell, Jay Haas (2), Jeev Milkha Singh (2), Jose Maria Olazabal (4), Lee Westwood, Mark Calcavecchia, Masashi (Jumbo) Ozaki, Matt Kuchar, Mike Weir (2), Mikko Ilonen (2), Nick Faldo, Paul Azinger, Paul Casey (3), Phil Mickelson (2), Retief Goosen (2), Ricky Barnes (2), Robert Allenby (2), Sergio Garcia (2), Stewart Cink (6), Stuart Appleby (3), Thomas Bjorn (2), Tim Clark, Tim Herron (3), Tom Watson and Toshi Izawa (2).
Curiously, Woods has not played with his acknowledged friends, Fred Couples or Mark O’Meara, and has only played with Mark Calcavecchia once, in 1995.
So the Masters committee could do Woods a big favor and pair him with a friend or, at the very least, someone he has played with at Augusta National in the past. They also could throw his name in a hat and see what comes out. Either way, it’s not an easy decision.
“Yes, I would volunteer, yes,” said Colin Montgomerie last week at Bay Hill. “I think it would be very, very exciting, very exciting to see him come back.
Unfortunately, Monty isn’t in this year’s Masters. So do we have any other volunteers?