Tiger Woods says he plans to compete in the Masters this week, a little more than a year after nearly losing a leg in a car accident.
The five-time Augusta National champion made the statement early Tuesday morning. On Wednesday, he’ll play nine more practice holes before making a final choice, but he’ll do so with the goal of playing Thursday.
“I feel like I’m going to play right now,” Woods said.
When asked if he thinks he can win this week, Woods said “I do.”
“I’m perfectly capable of hitting it,” Woods continued. “I have no reservations about what I can achieve physically in terms of golf.” It’s now time to walk, which is the most difficult portion. To begin with, this is a difficult hike. It’s a little more challenging now because of the state of my leg. And 72 holes is quite a trek. It’ll be a difficult task, but one that I’m willing to take on.”
There had been plenty of indications in recent days that Woods was on the verge of returning to the game. Last week, he arrived to Augusta National for a practice round, then returned Sunday and Monday for more, claiming he’d be “a game-time decision.” He spent a lot of time in the practice grounds on Tuesday morning, despite the adverse weather forecast.
Woods added, “It’s nice to be back.”
He’ll tee off with Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann on Thursday at 10:34 a.m. That trio will play again on Friday at 1:41 p.m.
In December, Woods and his son Charlie competed in the PNC Challenge, a 36-hole scramble on a flat Florida course, where they finished second to John Daly and his son. In that tournament, Woods was permitted to utilize a cart, and once the rounds were completed, he firmly denied any suggestion that his game was once again tour-ready.
On Dec. 19, Woods remarked, “I can’t compete against these guys right now, no.” “It’ll take a lot of work to get to the point where I feel like I can compete with these guys and be successful.”
Woods seemed to have changed his mind around 3-1/2 months later. He’ll be in the Masters for the 24th time if he plays; in his previous 23 outings, he’s been in the top five 12 times.
Woods stated, “I enjoy competing.” “I believe that if I am still capable of competing at the greatest level, I will do so.” And I’m going to play if I think I can still win. “However, if I don’t feel like I can, you won’t see me out here.”
The first time Woods played against the world’s best players since the last round of that year’s pandemic-delayed Masters on Nov. 15, 2020, would be Thursday’s opening round.
He underwent his fifth back surgery two months later and was still healing when he wrecked his SUV over a median and down the side of a hill on a suburban coastal road in Los Angeles on Feb. 23, 2021.
Woods’ injuries were so serious in that incident that surgeons debated amputation of his right leg before reassembling it with a rod in the tibia and screws and pins to brace other damage in the ankle and foot.
“It’s been a long, hard year,” Woods remarked, “but here we are.”