Augusta, Ga. ( Associated Press) — Tiger Woods says, anyway, that he plans to play at the Masters this week, a little over a year after he nearly lost a leg in a car accident.
The five-time champion at Augusta National made the announcement on 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 on Thursday.
“As of now,” Woods said, “I feel like I’m going to play.”
Woods was asked if he thought he could win this week. “I do,” he said.
“I can hit it just fine,” Woods said. “I don’t mind what I can do physically from a golf point of view. This is it now, the walking is the hard part. It’s not going to be easy to begin with. The position I have now has to do with that. Looking at it, it gets a little more difficult. And 72 holes is a long road. It’s going to be a tough challenge and a challenge I’m up for.”
There have been plenty of indications in recent days that Woods is on the verge of making a re-schedule. He came to Augusta National for a practice round last week, then returned on Sunday – saying it would be “a game-time decision” – and more on Monday. He spent a lot of time in the practice areas on Tuesday morning due to inclement weather.
“It’s great to be back,” Woods said.
Woods played in December at the PNC Challenge, a 36-hole scramble on a flat Florida course where he and his son Charlie finished second behind John Daly and his son. Woods was allowed to use a carriage in that event, and when the round ended he dismissed any notion that his game was ready to tour again.
“I can’t compete with these guys right now, no,” Woods said on December 19. ,
About 3-1/2 months later, Woods clearly feels differently. If he plays, he will be at the Masters for the 24th time; He has finished in the top five 12 times in his last 23 appearances.
“I love competition,” Woods said. “I think if I can still compete at the highest level, I’m going. And if I think I can still win, I’ll play. But if I think I can’t So you won’t be able to see me here.”
Thursday’s opening round marks the first time Woods will compete against the best in the world since November 15, 2020, the final round of that year’s pandemic-delayed Masters.
He had his fifth back surgery two months later and was still recovering from it on February 23, 2021, when he crashed his SUV onto a median on a suburban coastal road and down a hill in Los Angeles.
Woods’ injuries from that accident were so severe that doctors considered amputation of the right leg before reattaching the limb by placing a rod in the tibia and using screws and pins to immobilize additional injuries to the ankle and foot.
“It’s been a tough, tough year… but here we are,” Woods said.