Tiger Woods is swinging on the Masters and everybody in golf is speaking about it

Fourteen months after his catastrophic automobile crash, a comeback for Woods at Augusta is hotly anticipated. He says he’ll make a ‘game-time’ choice

Augusta, Georgia — Tiger Woods is right here on the Masters, however doesn’t but know if he’ll tee it up in Thursday’s first spherical.

Arguably essentially the most mentioned comeback within the historical past of golf won’t be confirmed till the 46-year-old believes his proper leg can face up to the rigours of Augusta’s infamous undulations.

You are reading: Tiger Woods is swinging on the Masters and everybody in golf is speaking about it

Whereas persistence is plainly referred to as for as Woods goes by way of his personal health exams, that commodity is in brief provide at a venue determined for its icon to return. Yesterday’s virtually surreal occasions proved that. A sleepy Sunday – spent idly watching the youngsters get their probability to play on this hallowed turf within the Drive, Chip and Putt finals – this was not.

By no means has an interview schedule been obtained so ecstatically. By lunchtime, Woods had already tweeted that he was on his means and that gave the inexperienced jackets their cue to launch the listing of press conferences, a minimum of two days later than regular. And there was his title at 11am on Tuesday, the surest signal but that he intends to play. A number of hours later, Woods appeared on the driving vary, his non-public jet having been tracked by the social media nerds from South Florida. It was day to be a Woods fanatic in entrance of your laptop computer.

At roughly 10am, his Twitter web page had zoomed into motion. “I will probably be heading as much as Augusta right this moment to proceed my preparation and apply,” Woods posted. “It is going to be a game-time choice on whether or not I compete.” Then got here the radar sighting, earlier than that flashed blip remodeled itself into Woods, himself, arriving on the vary at about 3.20 pm native time. He warmed up for 20 minutes, hitting roughly 30 balls from wedge to driver, earlier than going off to the tenth tee. His swing seemed sharp and there was no signal of a limp.

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So let the hype start. In fact, it had already constructed to fever pitch since rumours began of a quicker-than-expected return from the catastrophic accidents he suffered to his proper leg in a automobile crash 14 months in the past. Woods performed a apply spherical alongside his 12-year-old son Charlie right here final Tuesday and instructed associates similar to Rory McIlroy that he was assured sufficient in his sport being prepared, however was there to verify if his physique might take the pressure of strolling for 4 days. We nonetheless await that verdict and there’s no rush.

The Masters doesn’t have a agency deadline to commit, in distinction to common Tour occasions. It’s an invite, with no set quantity within the discipline — no most, no minimal — and gamers notify the membership provided that they don’t plan to play. The draw is made tomorrow, however Woods might conceivably go away it till the ultimate seconds earlier than his tee-time earlier than reaching his choice. And Woods has a penchant for the dramatic.

With the red-shirted one, there by no means has been a lot want for an excuse to press the “ballyhoo” button, however, if he comes by way of these subsequent few days, this will probably be a very exceptional resurrection. On the time of that single-vehicle accident there have been first justifiable fears that amputation could be required after which, when the limb was saved, whether or not he might ever play “soccer” together with his kids.

But after an exhaustive restoration and intense rehab, the icon who will merely not give up appears set to be revived on the main that has outlined him above all others. Not solely that, however it occurs to be the twenty fifth anniversary of his legendary 12-shot glory when, as a 21-year-old, he grew to become the youngest ever to win at Augusta. There have been 4 extra Inexperienced Jackets since, together with when he accomplished the unprecedented “Tiger Slam” in 2001 — holding all 4 main titles on the identical time — however maybe much more notably in 2019, when he gained his first main in 11 years, having undergone spinal fusion a 12 months earlier than.

Nevertheless, if he’s to do the unthinkable and prevail amongst these cathedral pines as soon as extra, this is able to certainly high all of them. He could be tying Jack Nicklaus’s file of six Masters titles and shut inside two of his historic nemesis within the charts of the outright main haul. Nevertheless, it will be even greater than that and, excuse the OTT nature of the hypothesis, however the build-up to Thursday’s first spherical will inevitably be monopolized by grand pronouncements of what’s potential.

Actually it has been an unimaginable journey from Hawthorne Boulevard to Magnolia Lane, from that downhill twin carriageway — the place, early on the morning of Feb 23, 2021, with out exterior intervention, his automobile smashed by way of the central reservation earlier than flipping over — to the 330-yard tree-lined avenue into Georgia’s {golfing} heaven.

The damaged car of Tiger Woods is towed away after he was involved in a car crash, near Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 23, 2021.
The broken automobile of Tiger Woods is towed away after he was concerned in a automobile crash, close to Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 23, 2021.Photograph by REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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At that stage, as TV footage of the mangled wreckage had been beamed across the globe, this state of affairs was greater than his sport might have dreamt. Within the meantime, Woods has performed solely within the PGA Tour’s father-and-son occasion in December — albeit extraordinarily impressively as he and Charlie completed second — and has not competed formally for 17 months. Paradoxically, that was within the 2020 Masters — delayed till November as a result of pandemic — when he did not retain the trophy, ending in a tie for thirty eighth.

Now he’s again and the actual fact he’s even contemplating competing is staggering for a lot of, together with McIlroy

“It’s an incredible comeback for an individual that we didn’t know if he was going to make it by way of that night time,” McIlroy mentioned.

“Somebody requested me simply the opposite day, ‘If he performs golf, the place do you suppose he might probably play’, and it will appear perhaps the Open Championship as a result of it’s St Andrews, it’s flat, and it’s a simple stroll.

“Augusta is the final place you’ll have thought he might probably play.

“It’s unbelievable. I spent a while with him just a few weeks in the past at his home and at that time, it didn’t look potential. He’s positively made lots of large strides over the previous couple of weeks.”

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