Tiger Woods WILL Play in The Masters And Believes He Can Win
GET ready for another outbreak of Tiger Mania. The news we have all craved was finally delivered when Tiger Woods confirmed that he will be making his competitive comeback at The Masters this week, 14 months after the car crash in which he nearly lost his right leg.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Woods said: “As of right now I feel like I am going to play. I am going to play nine more holes tomorrow. My recovery has been good. I have been very excited about how I have recovered each and every day.”
And so the hope will now begin. But let’s be realistic. The last time he played competitively was at the 2020 Masters, where he was the defending champion. And the interest in his performance this week will be off the scale. In truth, he will do well just to make the cut. But don’t dare tell him that.
He has been the only story in town, and even his fellow competitors cannot wait to see him back in action.
Former US Open champion Webb Simpson said: ‘We're all Tiger fans. I learned my lesson to never count him out a few years ago when he came - he's come back so many times from injury. So he's an inspiration to all of us.
"Even when I hurt my neck earlier this year, I thought about it stinks right now but I can come back, I can make a full recovery, but he had a lot worse injury. I love that he's going to give it a go.
"Any time anybody asks me can Tiger contend, the answer is yes. Just an amazing will inside of him, whether he's hurt or sick or struggling with his golf swing or whatever it is. So it's really cool that he's making this week the push to come back after that car wreck.”
FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay said: "I think he's a good example of life's not always perfect, and so it's really exciting to see him on his highs. And so I hope that he is able to tee it up this week and play well, and obviously that's the greatest thing for our sport. There's definitely a different feel in tournaments that he tees it up in."
The 15-time major champion looked good during a practice round on Sunday and has decided to return to the sport at the place where, in 2019, he stunned the world by winning his fifth Green Jacket.
Woods played beautifully on the second nine of Augusta National in a practice session that lasted a little over two hours on Sunday, and his game looked surprisingly sharp. At the age of 46, Woods is back - and you can be absolutely certain that he wouldn’t be playing unless he believed that he can contend.
It wasn’t so much that Woods only missed one fairway, hit a flurry of crisp iron shots - most impressively at the par-3 12th, the par-4 17th and par-4 18th - and made a few birdies. It was the time he spent on the part of the game that wins Masters - the little pitch and chip shots just off some of Augusta National’s tricky greens. Woods certainly looked like a competitive golfer in deep study, not one searching for answers.
He played a dozen or so shots left of No. 10 green, at least that many short right of No. 11, and was studious when playing shots from long of the 15th green (which is where he ended up after hitting a fairway metal in).
Having flown up from his home in Florida earlier in the day, Woods arrived at the Tournament Practice Area at 3.20pm on Sunday with his great friend Rob McNamara, who is executive vice president of Tiger Woods Ventures.
Longtime caddie Joe LaCava was waiting, and between renewing acquaintances with Kevin Na, Max Homa and Billy Horschel - and hitting three or four dozen shots - Woods headed to the 10th tee after about 20 minutes.
Woods did not stop and talk to the media but he did make it a memorable day for a pair of Augusta residents, Beverly Barksdale and Felicia Harris. They are working as drivers this week, and when Woods walked by, they received a couple of his golf gloves.
On the course is where Woods always feels comfortable, and Augusta National is his favourite place. Aaron Jarvis, a young golfer from the Cayman Islands who won the Latin America Amateur Championship, attempted to hustle up to possibly join Woods, but early on it was clear that the five-time Masters champion was working solo.
Though he missed the green at Nos. 10 and 11, Woods played 12 nicely, reached 13 in two and saw his approach into 14 come up short and roll back some 45 feet into the fairway. It was at the 14th green where Woods seemed to spend more time putting than chipping and pitching.
But by now, Woods had also caught up with young Aussie Cameron Davis, winner of last summer’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, and Woods seemed to relish the role of seasoned veteran showing the Masters rookie where to go and where not to go over the final five holes.
When his first shot was wide left and bunkered at the par-3 16th, Woods for the only time in nine holes hit a second tee shot. He stuffed it to about a foot-and-a-half. That produced the biggest smile of his practice session, though truthfully the entire two-plus hours appeared to be thoroughly enjoyable for him.
He went over in the 11th fairway to greet Chairman Emeritus of Augusta National Golf Club Billy Payne, then on two other occasions Woods reached out to say hello to other Club members he knows.
When the round was completed at 6:07 p.m., Woods shook hands with Davis and wished the rookie well. But it was Davis who seemed to be calling it a day. On the eve of what would be his 24th Masters, Woods still had work to do. He headed to the practice green with LaCava, knowing that he felt fit enough to play.
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