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Masters looms as extra special for Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods 2020 Zozo Championship
Tiger Woods realizes very little momentum for the Masters at a place where he has proved to be masterly over the years: Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Augusta National, where Woods will be the defending champion at the Masters, could be the site of his record 83rd PGA Tour victory

Tiger Woods will have to wait a bit longer to set the PGA Tour’s all-time victory mark, but oh what a storyline it would be at his next start.

Woods, gunning for a record 83rd career victory last week, fell far short at one of his favorite playgrounds. Paired with longtime rival Phil Mickelson in the final round, Woods shot 2-over 74 on Sunday to finish T-72 in the 77-man Zozo Championship at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Calif. (scores). The Zozo, where Woods was the defending champion, was his first competitive event since he missed the cut at the U.S. Open in mid-September.

Woods won the World Challenge, a PGA Tour exhibition that benefited his foundation, on five occasions when it was held at Sherwood in 2000-13, and he was runner-up five other times.

Now, his attention turns toward the Masters on Nov. 12-15 at Augusta National Golf Club, where he will be the defending champion. A victory would produce one of the great storylines in all of sports: a sixth green jacket just one month before his 45th birthday and the all-time mark for victories on the PGA Tour, a record that he shares with the late Sam Snead.

As the defending champion, Woods will host the traditional champions dinner for past Masters winners on Tuesday of tournament week. He expects the atmosphere to be different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The plan is still to do it,” he said Saturday. “We're not going to have it upstairs [in Augusta National’s clubhouse]. I think we're going to have it downstairs, where there's more room so we can all be socially distant. “We're not going to get a lot of the past champions coming because obviously they're at the at-risk age. … which is going to be a shame, but this is unlike any times we've ever had in the past, so we've got to do what we can do to obviously have the traditions that we'd like to have but also maintain safety guidelines.”

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