Phil Mickelson, seven adrift and trying to become the oldest major victor in golf history at age 48, applauded the move. But it was his first since the 2008 U.S. Open, capping a remarkable recovery from debilitating injuries and embarrassing personal problems. He competed at the Farmers Insurance Open, Genesis Open and WGC-Mexico Championship, where he ended T10 for his best finish of the year.
Molinari stands to pocket over £2m if can win his first Green Jacket today. This week Woods wasn't just hoping to play the Masters like in 2018; he was playing to win.
Italy's Molinari, the reigning British Open champion, stayed patient through five opening pars as birdies broke out everywhere on rain-softened Augusta. He hit the water on the 12th and 15th holes, and each time it led to a double bogey.
Woods had gone almost 11 years since he won his last major, 14 years since that green jacket was slipped over his Sunday red shirt.
Rounding out the final group is Tony Finau, who is at 11 under tied with three-time major victor Brooks Koepka.
Four contenders hit their tee shots at No. 12 into Rae's Creek.
British Open victor Oosthuizen also joined the party with a 68, while world number two Dustin Johnson returned a two-under 70 who to join Woods at six-under.
The inaugural Women's Amateur championship marked another major breakthrough at Augusta National, with its long-standing reputation as a haven for rich, white, well-connected men.
Fortunately, Woods seemed to be able to walk it off as he strolled the green.
Harding finished round one at three-under par, a score that saw him hold the lead, alongside a handful of other golfers, for a large part of day one.
The 27-year-old missed a 10-foot putt at the ninth that would have broken the front-nine record of six-under 30, although he wasn't aware of the mark at the time.
Joining them will be Tony Finau, playing this year on two good ankles after a self-inflicted injury a year ago. The weather forecast calls for possible thunderstorms to roll through by mid-afternoon. "I've really worked on everything with the Masters in mind from the start of the year, much like I did in 2013", the 38-year-old Australian said. It's working so well that Molinari goes into the final round having gone 43 consecutive holes without a bogey. For the tournament, Finau tied for 13th with an 11-under total.
Canadian Corey Conners, Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard and Americans J.B. Holmes, Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland were all in the clubhouse on two-under, one off the lead, as the day's last group reached the turn.
Matthew Primeaux, senior vice president of strategy and operations for BetStars, said the book had discussed allowing players to bet $100 on Woods at 100-1, but later settled on $10.
Patrick Cantlay and Ian Poulter are four shots back.
Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau later burst out of the crowd, firing six-under par 66s to share a one-shot lead over Phil Mickelson after the first round of the Masters.
Final-round summary: For the second year running, the closing stages of the Masters provided outstanding drama, as Garcia and Rose slugged it out in a titanic duel.
The traditional Sunday pin position on 16 - at the bottom of a slope - means balls regularly threaten the hole on the final day of the Masters.
That wasn't the case this year.
Floodlights cast shadows on the practice range as players warmed up in darkness.