Masters 2018: Tiger Woods looked 'pretty awesome' to practice partner Fred Couples

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The ageless Fred Couples teed it up in a Masters practice round Monday with a man who appears to have found the Fountain of Youth: Tiger Woods.

Couples came away impressed, telling reporters, "He hit a few drives that were well worth watching, whether you paid for it or are in the tournament like me."

Couples, 58, has had back issues for decades but never spinal fusion surgery. He felt unqualified to play doctor but did offer a bit of swing analysis.

"If you watched him play, there's not much of a back problem," he said. "He's hitting it a long way, and it looks beautiful. Today wasn't any different than it was 10 years ago when we played. It was pretty awesome."

Woods, 42, returned Monday after reportedly preparing at Augusta National on March 22-23. He did not stop to talk to reporters after his nine-hole practice session.

He's set to take questions at 1 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday after a practice round with an intriguing group. Couples said he and Woods will tee it up with Illinois alumnus Thomas Pieters and -- is April Fools' Day later this year? -- Phil Mickelson.

"Me and Thomas may just sit back and watch," Couples said.

Back from despair: Golf is better with a happy and healthy Bubba Watson, the two-time Masters champion who has no equal on tour when it comes to shaping shots and baring his soul.

Late last summer, Watson said Monday, he was in a "dark place." He had lost about 30 pounds because of an undisclosed illness, and his world ranking sank to No. 117.

He has won twice in 2018, most recently at the prestigious World Golf Match Play event in Austin, Texas, and is back up to 19th in the world rankings. Watson credits his inner circle, including wife Angie and caddie Ted Scott.

"My life's in a great spot," he said. "I understand where I want to go in my life."

Who's your caddie? As described on Twitter by Golf Magazine's Dylan Dethier, English golfer Tommy Fleetwood got one-upped Monday by caddie Ian Finnis. After Fleetwood was unable to skip a ball off the pond at No. 16 and onto the green, Finnis pulled off the shot, knocked home the 4-foot birdie try and took a bow.

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This article is written by Teddy Greenstein from Chicago Tribune and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to