The Masters 2013: Tiger Woods warns Augusta field that he's back in major mood

World No 1 is 'excited' about week ahead and credits fatherhood with giving him new sense of perspective

Augusta National

Forget 15, the magic number in the eye of Tiger Woods is 19, and we are not talking about the Masters appearances the world No 1 clocks up this week. While a 15th major title might be confirmation that Woods is indeed back to his best, he reached that accommodation with himself some time ago.

What he wants is 19, and the all-time major record. "I would like to be able to get to that point," Woods said here. "It took Jack Nicklaus a while to get to 18, all the way until he was 46 years old. So there's plenty of opportunities for me. We have very expansive careers and I feel like I'm basically right in the middle of mine. I have a lot of good years ahead of me and I'm excited about this week."

Woods has already won three times this year in four strokeplay events on the PGA Tour so he is back at optimum level. The world No 1 is absolute in his belief that he is ready once again to deliver the kind of performance that made him the dominant golfer of the epoch.

Nicklaus, who holds the record number of major victories, 18, had 14 at the age of 37, the same age as Woods is now. This will be the 61st major contested by Woods, eerily the same number Nicklaus had played at the same stage. The difference is Woods has not landed a big one since the US Open at Torrey Pines in 2008. Had he continued to convert at the rate that brought him the first tranche he would have been out of sight by now. As it is he has nine years to claim the five he needs to eclipse Nicklaus in the time frame laid out by the Golden Bear, who added No 18 at this event when he was 46.

Woods presents in fatherhood a face in softer focus. He is not the implacable hunter-gatherer of his youth, but a more measured soul, at least off the course. He credits his kids with providing the counterpoint he needed to right his ship. "Life is better since I've had kids. It's a beautiful juggling act. Parents in here will certainly attest to that; that's the joy in life and to be able to be a part of their life and watch them grow and help them grow.

"Getting out there and taking them on the golf course with me every now and again, they will have a great time. To me, that's what it's all about. That's how I was introduced to the game, and that's how I built such a great relationship with my father, to be able to spend that quality time out there on the course like that. I've been lucky enough to have a nice little set-up in the backyard, so can hit a few wedge shots and the kids will come out and enjoy it, too."

Woods was in the daddy role again late on Monday evening when he agreed to babysit 14-year-old Guan Tianlang. It takes a lot to make Woods blink on a golf course so credit must go the phenomenon from China for the pause taken. "He's not in high school yet. When I was 14, I was trying to get on, trying to play more tournaments and running track and cross-country; you know, trying to get homework done. I couldn't imagine playing in a Tour event, but the Masters! For a 14-year-old to be able to come out here and handle himself the way he's done is just unbelievable."


Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
nflAtlanta Falcons can't count and don't know what the UK looks like
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions

Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London