Does he think he can win the Masters title this week?
Woods confirmed Tuesday morning a message that will make the Masters a major sporting event from this year’s first golf major: after recovering from serious injuries in a car accident in California in February 2021, he wants to try. Compete in the Masters starting Thursday, in which he will look for the sixth green jacket he has set.
“Now, I feel like I’m going to play,” Woods said during a 25-minute news conference here. “I’m going to play nine more holes tomorrow. My recovery is good; I’m very excited about how I’ll be recovering every day.
Shortly afterwards, senior executives released tea times for the first two rounds. Woods will bang on Thursday at 10:34 a.m., joined by South Africa’s Louis Ostuysen and Chile’s Joaquin Neiman. The trio will start playing the second round on Friday at 1:41 p.m.
What questions do you have about Tiger Woods and the Masters? Listen to the post.
Woods’ last match was the epidemic-delayed 2020 Masters, which took place in November, and he finished 38th. Three months later, his car crashed into a road in Southern California, causing both bones to break into at least three pieces and pierce the skin, causing fractures in the tibia and fibula in his right leg. Woods suffered foot and ankle injuries, and doctors said he was considering being amputated at some point.
He said Tuesday that he had more pain in his leg “every day”. His challenges are not only to manage that pain, but to relax each round and recover enough so that he can do it again the next day. When he first appeared in Augusta as a teenager, he was an athletic, flexible force. Now, he has to manage his body like an old man.
“It hurts … because of the simple things I normally go through, it only takes a couple of hours here now and two hours to get ready there and then sink into the air,” Woods said. “So operational time to do what I want to do, adds more time on both sides – before and after -.”
That was part of the calculation of whether he could compete.
“It was a win that I was able to bring myself here at this point,” Woods said. “Now that I’m here, the focus gets a chance at nine after Sunday.”
For any of the other 90 players on the field, such a comment would be ridiculous in such a situation. But in a career spanning more than a quarter of a century now – his glorious first Masters success came 25 years ago, when he was 21 – Woods showed a penchant for both absurdly unexpected and impossible dramatic. He won the 2008 US Open on a broken leg, and his fifth Masters victory came in 2019, after he underwent five spinal surgeries.
Nevertheless, he knew more about Augusta National than his own backyard. The challenge is not to keep the club face square on the ball. It orbits Augusta’s body for four and a half hours and four days in the rough, uneven terrain.
“I can beat it well,” Woods said. “From a golf standpoint I have no worries about what I can do physically. Walking is the hardest part.… Seventy-two holes is a long road. It will be a tough challenge and a challenge I face.
When Woods began introducing unprecedented lengths from tea two decades ago, Augusta responded by extending the curriculum. Those changes continue today – Bar-4 11th Tea is far from over this year – and contributes to the physical needs of even the youngest players to play the Masters.
Justin Thomas, a 28-year-old Woods’ frequent playing partner, said: “It’s the hardest lesson to walk through.” It’s too long, too hilly, long walks back to the tees. சேர்ந்து Along with some bizarre waves and terrain of any course we play throughout the year, it makes for very tiring, sore legs on the weekends.
With 508 days between matches, Woods’ career longest layoff would have topped the 466-day interval he took to deal with chronic back problems between August 2015 and December 2016. Woods did not compete enthusiastically again until the 2017-18 PGA Tour season, when he recorded eight top-10 results and a memorable victory in the season-final Tour Championship. He followed it up with his fifth Masters win in April 2019, which is also his latest success.
Woods announced Sunday that he will be traveling to Augusta National to train for the second time in five days and that his Masters participation will be “the end of game time”. On Monday, he played in the training round with Thomas and fellow Masters champion Fred, who walked the course with little relaxation (Woods would not be allowed to use the cart during the match). On Tuesday, he certainly did not walk, limiting his work to the training area before the storms stopped training rounds. He said he has nine more holes to play on Wednesday.
Who can beat the green jacket? Breaking down rivals.
“I don’t have to worry about hitting the ball or playing golf,” Woods said. “I have to worry about the mountains here. That’s the challenge.”
Woods had previously said his career as a full-time professional golfer was over because he “could not predict what this leg would look like.” However, he said he could occasionally be seen playing at PGA Tour events. In December, he played in an unofficial father-son match with Charlie, using a cart to get around the Florida curriculum and finishing second behind John Daley and his son.
But since he switched to pro in 1996, he has been clear about his own standards: he expects to win if he enters a tournament. It seemed brave when he was 20 years old. Yet he never deviated from it – not now.
“If I realize I can not, you will not see me here,” Woods said.
He is now here for the 24th time as a player. His five green jackets go just behind Jack Nicholas’ six. In this situation, he is the only player who does not laugh out of the room, saying the following.
“I’m not going to show it until I think I can win an event,” Woods said. “Then this is the attitude I had. One day it will not happen and I know when it will happen.”
Woods clarified Tuesday: This is not the week.
Bonesteel report from Washington.