Tiger Woods
Woods is among the favorites to win the Augusta Masters. In this picture, Tiger Woods of the United States plays his shot from the fourth tee during a practice round prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 2, 2018 in Augusta, Georgia. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Tiger Woods made his first appearance at the Augusta National golf course to prepare for the upcoming 2018 Masters tournament since 2015 when he played a practice round with Fred Couples and Justin Thomas on Monday. He is expected to partner long-time rival Phil Mickelson in another practice round on Tuesday.

The American has missed three of the last four Augusta Masters due to a chronic back injury that has plagued him in recent years. He played his first practice round on Monday and received rave reviews from Masters veteran Couples, who is making his 33rd appearance at the tournament.

Woods played a nine-hole practice round and looked at ease with his game, which was followed by a large crowd with spectators being allowed into the course ahead of the start of the Masters Tournament on Thursday.

“He hit a few drives that were well worth watching, whether you paid for it or are in the tournament like me," Couples, who won the Masters in 1992, was quoted as saying by ESPN.

The 14-time major winner has been installed as one of the favorites after showing glimpses of his best form in recent weeks. Woods only returned from injury at the start of the year, but his tied second finish at the Valspar Championships and his tied fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational have seen him being labeled as one of the contenders to win the Green Jacket in Augusta.

The golf icon’s playing partner confirmed that he showed no signs of struggle in terms of his back injury and admitted that his swing looked as good as it did 10 years ago. Woods last played a major tournament in 2015 when he missed the cut at the WGC Players Championship, while his last major win came at the US Open in 2008.

“He's doing well," Couples said. "If you watched him play today, there's not much of a back problem. 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."

Meanwhile, Couples also seemed to confirm rumors that Woods and his long-time rival Phil Mickelson were set to play a practice round on Tuesday as they continue to prepare for the start of the first major of the year.

Woods and Mickelson have shared a long rivalry that has yielded a combined 19 major titles and according to Sky Sports, many veteran journalists present in Augusta were struggling to recall the two ever practicing together ahead of a major tournament. They have only been seen practicing together in the past during team events such as the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup.

The news of the duo practicing together is certain to draw record crowds on Tuesday and they will be joined on the course by Couples and Thomas Pieters. But Couples suggested that they should just sit back and watch the two veteran champions fine tune their game ahead of the Masters.

"I think Thomas and I will just sit back and watch," Couples added hinting at the unlikeliest of practice pairings.