Masters Tournament | Tiger is back

“For now, I feel like I’m going to play. »

Updated yesterday at 3:47 p.m.

Frederick Duchesneau

Frederick Duchesneau
The Press

Unless something unforeseen, Tiger Woods will participate in the Masters Tournament, barely a year after suffering a serious road accident. He will play nine more practice holes on Wednesday before making a final decision, but he expects to show up at the first tee on Thursday. At 10.34 a.m. sharp, with Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann as playing partners.

Sunday, on his Twitter account, Woods had mentioned “a last minute decision”, while he was heading to Georgia to train on the legendary Augusta National course. It’s always like that. Nevertheless, 48 ​​hours later, the doubts seemed dispelled.

“Do you think you can win the Masters this week? asked a journalist at a press briefing on Tuesday morning. “Yes,” replied the golfer without hesitation.

Record ratings in sight.

It will be a difficult challenge. But I’m ready to take it up.

Tiger Woods

One more. The number of unlikely Tiger Woods comebacks will perhaps surpass that of the waves of COVID-19.

A month and a half ago, the Californian said he was unable to determine a date for returning to official competition.

The winner of 15 major titles had returned to the aisles last December, at the PNC Championship, a friendly family tournament in which he took second place – behind the Dalys – with his son Charlie.


PHOTO SCOTT AUDETTE, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

Tiger Woods and his son Charlie at the PNC Championship last December

From then on, it became clear that Woods had not lost his ability to hit the ball, despite a slightly adapted momentum, by force of circumstance, and some loss of distance.

In the warm-up area, Tuesday morning, new pair of more stable shoes on his feet, his tee shots nevertheless flew over 300 yards – to within a few – before touching the ground.

On the other hand, could he walk the 18 holes of a course for two or even four consecutive days? A doubt fueled by the fact that the golfer himself said he was “very tired” at the end of the PNC Championship… although he was driving around in a cart.

I can hit the ball very well. I have no doubts about what I can do golf-wise. The walk is the hard part.

Tiger Woods

Its participation is therefore not yet 100% assured.

Woods, however, recalled that he would not be at a first tournament played in suffering. In particular, he underwent five back operations, including arthrodesis, a painful fusion of vertebrae.

And then there’s the 2008 U.S. Open, which he won with a badly bruised left knee and a double stress fracture to a tibia.

But the love of the rehabilitation process for the 82 PGA title winner – tied for the top with Sam Snead – has been documented time and time again. Hence the reluctance of some observers recently to say that fans of Tiger Woods should mourn him.

Woods is 46 years old. The exact age at which Jack Nicklaus donned the green jacket for the sixth time, despite major hip problems.

Will we see him in his legendary red polo shirt during the final round of this 86and Masters Tournament? Nothing is less sure. But for him to start from the first mound this Thursday would already be a feat in itself.

Never a 973and world player will have aroused so much interest, a rank he shares with the Argentinian Marcos Montenegro and the American Julian Suri. Anecdotal material for their respective descendants.

The accident

On February 23, 2021, the accident of Tiger Woods had caused a stir. Driving at double the speed limit – about 140 km/h in a zone of just over 70 km/h (45 mph) – he had lost control of his SUV, in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Victim of multiple open fractures in the right leg, the ankle also seriously affected, amputation had been seriously considered by specialists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

“He was very lucky to come out alive,” said the first policeman to arrive on the scene.


PHOTO PATRICK T. FALLON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ARCHIVES

Tiger Woods’ car after the golfer’s accident, February 23, 2021

Immobilized for three months, the star golfer will begin his rehabilitation with a metal rod in his leg and screws to solidify his ankle and foot.

“It’s been a tough year,” Woods summed up, adding that he feels “pain every day.”

From a comfort standpoint, he can expect improvement, doctors and therapists told him. But not when it comes to the mobility and flexibility of his right foot. He will have to deal with what is left of it.

A reporter asked him what word comes to mind when he reflects on the past 14 months. “Grateful” was his response.

Twenty-five years after his first coronation, seventeen months after his last presence, Woods should therefore officially reconnect with this course of which he knows every square centimeter.

In 2019, he lifted the crowd at the Augusta National by signing a fifth, rather unexpected triumph, 11 years after his previous major title.

Once again this year, and perhaps more than ever, the Masters Tournament should vibrate to the rhythm of Tiger Woods.

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