Tiger Woods learned from the masters at The Masters

Tiger Woods Masters David Cannon/Getty Images

Tiger Woods learned from the masters at The Masters

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods learned from the masters at The Masters

In 1995, Tiger Woods played in his first Masters as the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. He played his Monday practice round that week with Nick Faldo. His Tuesday practice round was with Greg Norman, Fred Couples and Raymond Floyd. His Wednesday round was with Norman and Nick Price.

In 1996, with Woods again the reigning U.S. Amateur champion at the Masters, he played a practice round — and then the Par 3 Contest — with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

In 1997, ahead of his first Masters start as a professional, Woods played practice rounds with Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Mark O’Meara.

Everyone is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. All but Norman and Price were Masters champions. Everyone was a wealth of knowledge Woods tapped into. He learned how to play the holes from different angles, how to play delicate shots around and on the greens. He learned where not to miss and where the best places were to miss with an errant shot. He learned and learned.

“Each person had their own philosophy,” Woods said in an exclusive interview with USA TODAY’s Steve DiMeglio in March during a promotional tour of The 1997 Masters: My Story (Grand Central Publishing). With Canadian Golf Hall of Fame writer Lorne Rubenstein, Woods reflects on his life inside and outside the ropes that led to his historic march to the green jacket in 1997.

Woods said he dipped back into history as he soaked in the valuable insight offered from each.

“It was more about learning how to play the golf course,” Woods said. “Their knowledge of playing that particular golf course (was) invaluable. The angles and the shots and the shot choices. Where they wanted to play from and how they wanted to play it. …

“They really showed me how to chip there. Different cut spins, hook spins, 1, 2 3 hops. I would just listen. And then I would ask and I’d pick their brains. They would show me different hand positions and loft and body stances, all these different variables. It was so incredible. In subsequent years, I always felt comfortable around the greens because I had watched them do it.”

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