Tiger Woods in the realm of masters until he says he’s not

Is he back?

As impossible as it might be to imagine given the severity of the car accident he was in in February 2021, a traumatic event that nearly caused his right leg to be amputated, but just days before Masters week. , Tiger Woods remains on the pitch. …until he says he’s not.

As of early Friday evening, with Woods still among the players listed on the official field to play at Augusta National, that appears to be his tactic: Carry on as business as usual.

Even though business in Woods’ world is never “business as usual”.

Although many waited to hear anything definitive from Woods on Friday, either confirming his intention to play or announcing that he was not yet physically capable, Woods was publicly silent three days after igniting the golf world by showing up. to Augusta National for a practice ride. Tuesday.

Unlike a regular PGA Tour event, which has a Friday afternoon deadline for a player to commit, the Masters does not require one for a qualified entrant. So, Woods didn’t need to announce his intentions on Friday if he chose not to. And he apparently chose not to.

Woods, 46, a five-time Green Jacket winner (his last being that momentous 2019 triumph which apparently capped his remarkable comeback after microdisk surgery on his back), will play in his 24th Masters next week unless he tells us he won’t play.

If he does play, this one could be the most notable of them all – including his first, in 1997, and his victory in 2019 – due to the unlikelihood of the odds.

Woods suffered serious injuries to his right leg and right foot in the car accident on February 23, 2021. The SUV he was driving crossed two oncoming lanes, hit a curb and uprooted a tree on a downhill stretch of a steep road just outside Los Angeles.

Woods was transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by ambulance and had open fractures in the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula of his right leg. All of which made a comeback not only unlikely so soon, but possibly not at all likely.

But Woods, who has insisted on keeping the bar of expectations low for his latest return to sport from injury in the few times he has spoken publicly since the accident, has always been highly motivated to challenge the probabilities.

Throughout, a return to the Masters seemed hard to imagine as the walk is tough at Augusta National with its steeply rolling hills. Woods said, when he spoke at the Hero World Challenge in November, that the golfing part of his recovery wasn’t as difficult as just the stamina it took to walk to the courses.

When he played in the father-son event of the PNC Championship with his son Charlie in December, Woods’ shooting and ball-striking looked remarkably crisp considering the time since the accident, which left him at hospital for weeks and confined to a wheelchair. once he returned home to Florida.

Woods had pointed out that the father-son event, which he called golf “hits and giggles,” was not a good barometer for the PGA Tour golf tournament.

“I wish I could tell you when I play again,” Woods said Feb. 16 at the Genesis Invitational. “I want to know, but I don’t want to. My golf activity has been very limited. I can tap and putt really well and hit the short irons really well, but I haven’t done any serious long stuff. I’m always working. I’m still working on the walking part.

He always felt the British Open in July in St. Andrews – the 150th anniversary of the game’s oldest major championship – was the most obvious place for him to return to competition. Woods has won two open championships at St. Andrews and the course is very flat which makes walking much easier than most courses.

But Woods appears to have made incredible physical progress in the calm of his own home workouts in Florida.

One sign was clear when he arrived in Augusta for that practice round on Tuesday: He wouldn’t have made the trip unless he believed his golf game was in a place that would allow him to compete for a sixth green jacket, which would tie Jack Nicklaus for the best in tournament history.

Woods’ scouting trip was to see how he physically handled the 18-hole march that day – and how his body recovered from it. These were the questions Woods had to answer before he could commit to playing.

It has been approximately 500 days since Woods last competed in an official PGA Tour event. This last round played was the last round of the 2020 Masters, which was held in November of the same year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He finished tied for 38th after shooting 4 of 76 in the final round.

Adding to the drama of the week: It’s the 25th anniversary of Woods’ first Masters victory in 1997.

New York Post

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