Tiger Woods: ‘Right now, I think I’m going to play in the Masters.’

Tiger Woods, the golf legend who damaged his right leg so badly just 13 months ago that doctors thought it was amputated, said Tuesday that “from now on” he feels he is “going to play” at the Masters, setting the stage apart from any other iconic tournament. To return to the PGA Tour.

Speculation over whether Woods would compete at the Augusta Nationals began in late March, when three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson removed himself from the list of players planning to compete.

At the time, Woods was still on the list of active invitees, although there was no significant indication that he was ready to play his first major since the accident that damaged his leg, prompting many to decide to remove him from the list. Not saying. The Masters, unlike other PGA Tour events, does not have a strong deadline to commit to the competition. Since this is an invitational tournament, players usually notify the club if they do not plan to play.

But Woods’ chances of chasing another green jacket, which he first won 25 years ago, reached new heights when he flew last Tuesday in August, saying he was going to the course to continue his “preparation and practice” and that it would be a “game-time decision”. Whether he competed.

The 15-time main champion has built a reputation throughout his colorful career for finding victories in challenging situations. His most recent five Masters wins, in 2019, marked his first major tournament win in 11 years and came after multiple back and knee surgeries. Just two years ago, he was ranked 1,119th in the world.

Yet, in an impossible and unparalleled career with shiny heights and shaky lows, returning from a traumatic injury at the age of 46 – especially at Augusta National, a long course known for its unforgivable height change in almost every hole – has always posed a formidable challenge. .

Woods, recovering from a fifth spinal surgery in February 2021, drove his sport-utility car at high speed over a medium-sized area and crashed into a hill in the Los Angeles-area coastal suburb. His right leg is severely damaged, with open fissures in several areas of the tibia and fibula. He spent a month in hospital, and said doctors considered the possibility of amputation.

“I’m still working on the walking part,” Woods said before the Genesis Invitational in mid-February. “A year ago my legs got a little messy, so the walking part is something I’m still working on, working on strength and development. It takes time. The frustration is that it is not on my schedule. I want to be in a certain place, but I am not. I just have to keep working. “

As the difficult rehabilitation process unfolded, Woods rarely appeared on his tour, managing expectations about a possible return – external and, possibly, internal.

In December, Woods played 36 holes in the PNC Championship with his son Charlie. The format of the tournament was quite different from that of the Masters, though, and each cart was allowed to use a cart instead of a walk. During the event, Woods got into some drives and fought to push with his right foot.

Earlier, in mid-November, Woods made a post Short videos on social media Taking a swing on his own, he said he hoped to finally play competitive golf again but stopped offering a schedule for when that might happen. He also canceled a full-time return to the PGA Tour.

“I had a pretty good run,” Woods said in November, then moved on from the crash nine months later. “I don’t see this kind of trend moving forward for me. It’s going to be a different way. I am in that peace. I’ve climbed enough times. ”

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