Tiger Woods looks ready to handle the 72-hole walking challenge at Augusta National 14 months after he suffered a serious injury to his right leg in a car accident.
Opponents of the 15-time main champion said Monday that Woods had played his first public practice round before his “game-time decision” on whether to try to return to the Masters.
After playing nine holes with Woods on Monday, 1992 Masters winner Fred Couples of Woods said, “He loved to walk. “It simply came to our notice then. (Course) Walking is ruthless. “
The couple said Woods “would never let you know he was in pain” but if he had, his game would not have been damaged.
“He bombed it,” the couple said. “He didn’t miss a lot of shots, he did great… this guy, he’s just unreal.
Cameron Davis, an Australian who played the final five holes with Woods in Sunday’s practice round, said the five-time Masters winner was “still a little slow to climb a few hills on the 17th and 18th”.
“She is OK. He’s hitting it hard enough to play the holes the way you want to play. I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be able to round up here. “
Woods said he was lucky to have survived an automobile accident in Southern California in February 2021 and had his right leg amputated.
He fought through rehabilitation to give himself a chance to play this week, walking confidently on Monday as spectators shouted their support for his return.
Thursday’s opening round will be one of the more surprising injury fightbacks in Woods’ opening game history, the five-time Masters champion has not played since defending his title at the 2020 Masters, which was played due to COVID-19 in November.
Davis said, “He’s hitting the shot. You have to hit. “She is OK. Everything seemed pretty difficult. It would be great to see him here if he decides to keep it up on Thursday.
“It just seemed like the work he was doing set him up pretty well for this week if he felt ready.”
Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka, in search of his first green jacket, played last year’s Masters two weeks after knee surgery and struggled to get around the layout.
“This place is not easy to walk. I understand what he is up against. It will be difficult.
“But if anyone can do it, he is.”
Koepka said he needed painkillers last year to deal with the pain.
“I had to shoot up to play last year. It’s hard enough to walk, ”Koepka said.
“I don’t know what he’s going through … I just know it’s hard to walk in this place when the same part of your body isn’t used to you.”
“It’s a big championship, it’s Augusta. No matter how much pain you are in, you have to figure out a way. He will find a way. If anyone can do it, he can do it. “
Woods has returned from a knee and back injury for most of his career, overcoming spinal fusion to win the 2019 Masters.
“She’s come back from injury so many times, so she’s an inspiration to all of us,” said Webb Simpson, 2012 US Open winner.
“There’s just an amazing desire inside him … so it’s really great that he’s pushing to get back after the wreckage of that car this week.”
Can’t wait to see sixth-ranked Cameron Smith Woods of Australia.
“It’s going to be huge,” Smith said. “I’m sure he’s going to get out of here. He’s a competitor and he wants to take people down.
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