AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Tiger Woods says, for now anyway, he plans to play this week at the Masters.
The five-time Augusta National champion made the announcement Tuesday morning. He will play nine more practice holes on Wednesday before making a final decision, but will do so with the intention of playing Thursday.
“Right now,” Woods said, “I feel like I’m going to play.”
There had been plenty of signals in recent days that Woods was about to decide it was time to play again. He came to Augusta National for a practice round last week, then returned on Sunday — saying it would be “a game time decision” — and Monday for more. Tuesday morning, as bad weather set in, he spent a lot of time on the training grounds.
“It’s great to be back,” Woods said.
Woods played in December at the PNC Challenge, a 36-hole course on a flat Florida course where he and his son Charlie finished second to John Daly and his son. Woods was allowed to use a cart at this event, and once those rounds were over, he flatly dismissed any notion that his game was ready for the tour again.
“I can’t compete with these guys right now, no,” Woods said on Dec. 19. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work to get to where I feel like I can compete with these guys and be at a top.”
About 3 and a half months later, Woods apparently feels differently. If he plays, he will participate in the Masters for the 24th time. he has finished in the top five 12 times in his previous 23 appearances.
Thursday’s first round would mark the first time Woods has faced the best players in the world since Nov. 15, 2020, which was the final round of that year’s pandemic-delayed Masters.
He underwent his fifth back surgery two months later and was still recovering on February 23, 2021, when he crashed his SUV into a median on a suburban coastal road in Los Angeles and into the side of a hill .
Woods’ injuries from the accident were so severe that doctors considered amputating his right leg, before reassembling the limb by placing a rod through the tibia and using screws and pins to stabilize the injuries. additional ankle and foot.
“It’s been a tough, tough year…but here we are,” Woods said.
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