'Energetic' Ian Woosnam prepared for 2012 Masters at Augusta

THE MASTERS

Venue:
Augusta National, Georgia
Dates:
5-8 April
Live BBC TV coverage:
BBC Two Saturday & Sunday from 2030 and 1900 BST; Amen Corner plus holes 15 & 16 on Saturday & Sunday on Red Button & online
BBC Radio:
5 live from 2100 BST on Thursday, Friday & Saturday; 2000 BST Sunday

Former champion Ian Woosnam admits he feels 'energised' as the 1991 Masters winner hopes to make just his second Augusta cut in 11 years.

Welshman Woosnam conceded he thinking of not returning to golf's first major of the season after missing the halfway cut at the 2011 Masters.

But the former world number one, who suffers from back trouble, is positive ahead of his 24th Augusta appearance.

"I want to try and play for a few more years if I can," said Woosnam.

"I do get down after Augusta because my back gets me down and I don't feel like playing again as people don't realise how hilly the course is, it is hard work.

"But I'm really looking forward to it this year, I've worked a bit harder and I'm a bit more energetic about it to try and make the cut.

"I feel like I have been practising for the last four or five months for Augusta to try and get that little bit extra length.

"There is no doubt that the Masters is the highlight of the year for me.

"It is part of my life, a highlight of my career. I've only won one major and it was at Augusta.

"I'm very lucky to be a part of it and I always look forward to coming back and even if I wasn't a player, I'd always come back as a spectator."

Woosnam has not played in any of the other majors since the 2003 Open but has a lifetime qualifying exemption for the Masters after famously winning the tournament in 1991 and becoming the only Welshman to win one of golf's four majors.

Europe's victorious 2006 Ryder Cup captain is the only Welshman at the 76th Masters and will play alongside Italian Ryder Cup star Edoardo Molinari for the first two rounds - teeing off at 1630 BST in the first round on Thursday and 1323 BST on Friday.

Woosnam played at the recent Mississippi Gulf Classic on America's Champions Tour - won by Fred Couples - before arriving in Augusta last week so the 54-year-old could begin his preparations.

Now the 5ft 4ins player hopes to emulate his 2008 achievement of making the Masters cut, the only time he has made the weekend since 2000.

But Woosnam, who suffers spondylitis and requires a weekly injection in order to continue to play golf competitively, will keep playing the famous American golfing showpiece as long as his back will allow.

"It's so spectacular, with all of the rhododendrons," said Woosnam.

"The old place is like the Garden of Eden. It's so beautiful."

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