Tiger Woods says, for now anyway, he is planning to play this week within the Masters, slightly greater than a yr after almost shedding a leg in a automotive crash.
The five-time champion at Augusta Nationwide made the announcement on Tuesday morning. He’ll play 9 extra apply holes on Wednesday earlier than making a remaining resolution, however shall be doing so with the intention of enjoying Thursday.
“As of proper now,” Woods stated, “I really feel like I will play.”
Woods was requested if he believes he can win this week. “I do,” he stated.
“I can hit it simply fantastic,” Woods added. “I don’t have any qualms about what I can do bodily from a golf standpoint. It’s now, strolling’s the laborious half. This isn’t a straightforward stroll to start with. Now given the situation that my leg is in, it will get slightly tougher. And 72 holes is an extended highway. It’s going to be a tricky problem and a problem that I’m up for.”
There had been loads of indicators in latest days that Woods was on the cusp of deciding it was time to play once more. He got here to Augusta Nationwide for a apply spherical final week, then returned Sunday — saying he’d be “a game-time resolution” — and Monday for extra. On Tuesday morning, with unhealthy climate within the forecast, he spent loads of time within the apply areas.
“It’s nice to be again,” Woods stated.
Woods performed in December on the PNC Problem, a 36-hole scramble on a flat Florida course the place he and his son Charlie completed second to John Daly and his son. Woods was allowed to make use of a cart in that occasion, and when these rounds have been over he flatly dismissed any notion that his recreation was tour-ready once more.
“I can’t compete in opposition to these guys proper now, no,” Woods stated on Dec. 19. “It’s going to take a number of work to get to the place I really feel like I can compete at these guys and be at a excessive degree.”
About 3-1/2 months later, Woods apparently feels otherwise. If he performs, he’ll be within the Masters for the twenty fourth time; he is completed within the high 5 12 instances in his earlier 23 appearances.
“I like competing,” Woods stated. “I really feel like if I can nonetheless compete on the highest degree, I’m going to. And if I really feel like I can nonetheless win, I’m going to play. But when I really feel like I can’t, then you definitely received’t see me out right here.”
Thursday’s opening spherical would mark the primary time Woods competes in opposition to the world’s finest gamers since Nov. 15, 2020, which was the ultimate spherical of that yr’s pandemic-delayed Masters.
He had his fifth again surgical procedure two months later and was nonetheless recovering from that on Feb. 23, 2021 when he crashed his SUV over a median on a suburban coastal highway in Los Angeles and down the aspect of a hill.
Woods’ accidents from that crash have been so extreme that docs thought-about proper leg amputation, earlier than reassembling the limb by inserting a rod within the tibia and utilizing screws and pins to stabilize extra accidents within the ankle and foot.
“It has been a tricky, robust yr … however right here we’re,” Woods stated.
Tiger Woods is paired with 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann for the primary two rounds of the Masters in pairings launched Tuesday.
Oosthuizen, 39, was the 2012 Masters runner-up and final yr completed second on the US Open and PGA Championship and third on the British Open.
Niemann, 23, received his second US PGA title in February on the match hosted by Woods at Riviera in Los Angeles.
(With inputs from AFP)