Golf: Faldo favours competition to get into the swing: Americans rest before Masters as Europeans line up for Freeport

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The Independent Online
The week before the first major of the year is a busy one in America, as the fortunate few with invitations to Augusta work out the best way to prepare their games to peak next weekend at the Masters.

When Ian Woosnam won the Masters in 1991, he had spent the previous week winning here. This week, though, he is not among those competing in the Freeport McMoran Classic at English Turn. Instead, along with many others, he is honing his newly adjusted swing at Lake Nona, David Leadbetter's headquarters in Florida.

One of the few not under Leadbetter's eye is his most famous pupil, Nick Faldo, who has decided to compete his way to Masters readiness.

Faldo said on Tuesday: 'Because you see Augusta every year, you know what to do. It's better to be contending and under pressure. Last year my swing wasn't good and I spent too much time on the range and it blew me out of synch.'

Faldo finished fifth last week at The Players' Championship, his fourth tournament of the year, despite a final-round 73. 'I'm quite happy about last week,' he said. 'It would have been nice to hole a couple of putts on the last day, but the putting touch is a bit better now. I'm very happy with my preparations overall.'

Faldo is among eight Europeans competing here, including Jose-Maria Olazabal, Barry Lane, Sandy Lyle and Sam Torrance. Most of the leading US Tour players are taking the week off, including Greg Norman, who has finished second here three times.

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