AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Two phrases can imply loads when Tiger Woods is behind them.
Nobody would have been shocked if Woods had by no means performed golf once more after a automotive accident in Los Angeles that broken his proper leg so badly that he stated medical doctors raised the potential for an amputation. Away from the general public eye for 9 months, Woods raised hopes final November with a video of him rocking the membership with a easy message, “Make progress.”
And right here he’s at Augusta Nationwide, making a Monday observe lap really feel like a Sunday at a serious match due to the gallery, strolling the steeps, swinging effectively and making it clear that he has totally intend to play within the Masters.
Does he assume he can win?
Woods provided the shortest reply of his press convention: “Sure.”
He stated on Tuesday he deliberate to play and believed he may win. By no means thoughts that it is going to be 508 days for the reason that final time he performed a match the place he needed to stroll, or that he returns to that Masters with screws and rods nonetheless holding the bones in place in his proper leg.
Woods can be 46 years previous. He can be the oldest Masters champion by three weeks over Jack Nicklaus.
The larger query is how he holds up over 18 holes for 4 consecutive days. Woods accomplished 18 holes final week – his first massive check – on a reconnaissance journey together with his 13-year-old son Charlie (together with a cease on the Par 3 course).
He performed the again 9 on Sunday, the entrance 9 on Monday.
Woods plans 9 extra for Wednesday, after which it’s “recreation time.” He is because of begin at 10:34 a.m. Thursday with Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann.
“I can hit him very effectively. I’ve no qualms about what I can do bodily from a golf perspective,” Woods stated. “The stroll is the toughest half. It’s usually not a straightforward stroll to start out with. Now, given the situations my leg is in, it turns into much more tough.
“Seventy-two holes is an extended street and it’s going to be a troublesome problem,” he stated. “And a problem I’m up for.”
Maybe that’s the primary purpose Woods is even at Augusta Nationwide for greater than the sushi and miso-glazed cod and Wagyu beef that defending champ Hideki Matsuyama placed on the menu on the champions-only dinner on Tuesday evening. .
If he by no means performs – if he by no means wins – Woods stated he’s pleased with what he’s completed.
“I feel 82 is a fairly good quantity,” Woods stated. “And 15 isn’t too unhealthy both.”
His 15 majors are second solely to Jack Nicklaus and his 18, golf’s gold commonplace. He’s tied with Sam Snead for the PGA Tour profession file with 82 wins.
So why hold coming again? What else is there to show?
“I really like competitors,” Woods stated. “And I really feel like if I can nonetheless compete on the highest stage, I’m going to. And if I really feel like I can nonetheless win, I’m going to play.
“I don’t present as much as an occasion except I feel I can win it. In order that’s the perspective I had,” he stated. “There shall be a day when it doesn’t occur, and I’ll realize it.”
Shortly after his speech, the departure instances have been printed. Woods is helped by being a part of the early-late rotation, which implies he may have round 22 hours between rounds.
In any other case, Tuesday was largely a washout. Woods wasn’t planning on something greater than engaged on the lineup, anyway, and even that labored in his favor. Heavy storms hit Augusta across the time he completed his work, and the course was closed for the remainder of the day.
So long as Woods is a part of Masters lore – Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as soon as predicted he’d win extra Inexperienced Jackets than the 2 mixed (10) – the truth is rust from no critical competitors and a physique that’s suffered not less than 10 surgical procedures on each legs and his again.
However he intends to play, and that appears sufficient. For now.
“I feel the truth that I’ve been in a position to get right here up to now is successful,” Woods stated. “And now that I’m taking part in, now it’s all centered on, ‘How do I get into the place the place I’m on that again 9 on Sunday with an opportunity?’ Like I did just a few years in the past.
It was in 2019, his fifth grasp title after 4 operations within the earlier 5 years on his decrease again.
“What number of returns has it had?” Jordan Spieth requested in marvel.
There was the return of reconstructive knee surgical procedure after profitable the 2008 US Open. He received the world seven instances the next yr. There was a return to No. 1 after the implosion in his private life and earlier than again surgical procedures.
Nothing compares to this, primarily due to the strolling concerned on a leg so badly broken that Woods spent three months in a hospital mattress earlier than transitioning to a wheelchair, crutches, a compression sleeve and nonetheless the occasional lameness.
“It’s wonderful if you concentrate on the place he was a yr in the past,” Spieth stated. “I don’t know the way many individuals – if anybody – may very well be right here. And it’s not a straightforward stroll. So being right here and never throwing his age into the combo, however I don’t assume that helps a lot for this restoration.
“However is anybody shocked?”
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