Tiger Woods insists that he can win the Masters, 14 months after shattering his leg in a car crash that nearly killed him, as he ended the frenzied speculation and confirmed that he will make his comeback at Augusta this week.
Woods first did an interview with Masters Radio where he was asked if he is committed to playing this week. He smiled and winked before dragging it out to say he would reveal all in his press conference.
‘It is great to be back and to be able to feel the energy and the excitement again. Hopefully we are going to have a great week,’ he said to open his press conference.
Quickly pressed on whether he has committed to playing, Woods added: ‘As of right now I feel like I am going to play.’
Asked if he can win, 14 months on from shattering his leg in a horrific car crash, he was defiant in response.
‘I do. I can hit it just fine. I have no qualms what I can do physically from a golf standpoint,’ he added.
‘Walking is the hard part. 72 holes is a long road. It is a tough challenge and a challenge I am up for.’
Tiger Woods has said that ‘as of right now’ he is planning to play the Masters at Augusta
The draw, as well as the Champion’s dinner, takes place on Wednesday, and Woods will head into those having played nine more practice holes in the morning.
‘My recovery has been good,’ he continued. ‘I’ve been excited about how I’ve recovered each and every day.
Woods has not featured at a top level event since he was involved in a car crash back in February 2021.
The 46-year-old was recovering from a fifth back operation at the time of the crash in Rolling Hills Estates, on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
He was driving alone in his SUV as he went off-road ‘at a high speed’ following a single-vehicle crash around 7am local time.
Woods’ SUV smashed into a tree and data from his black box later revealed that he was travelling between 84 to 87 miles per hour on a road with a 45mph speed limit.
Extracted from his wrecked car through the windscreen, Woods was transported to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Hospital.
Woods has not played in a top-level event since being involved in a horrific car crash in 2021
The 46-year-old had to be cut from the wreckage after his runaway SUV smashed into a tree
He had suffered ‘significant’ injuries and required urgent surgery on his multiple injuries. Woods later revealed that amputation of his right leg ‘was on the table’ at one stage, so severe were his injuries.
Woods spent three weeks hospitalized before recovering at home in Florida where details of his condition were kept out of the media for a large part of 2021.
The 15-time major champion did say publicly that he felt a full-time return to the professional golf circuit was no longer an option due to the wear on his body after surgeries on open fractures on his lower right leg, his foot and his ankle.
The American raised hope that he was making good headway with his recovery after he competed in the PNC Championship with his son Charlie back in December.
But crucially Woods was allowed to use a cart during the 36-hole event and was allowed to opt not to hit some shots due to the scramble format.
Woods won his first major as a professional by 12 shots in 1997 at the Masters in Augusta
Walking the course has long been the big concern for Woods when he returns to action and in February, despite revealing he could ‘walk on a treadmill all day’, he did go on to add that he had a ‘long way to go’ before being fit enough to take part regularly at events.
He currently holds the record for the most PGA Tour titles, tied with Sam Snead on 82 successes.
His 15 major titles place him three behind Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.
Woods has won the Masters five times in his career to date and the Augusta showpiece holds a special place in his heart.
Woods overcame all of his adversities to become a Masters winner once again back in 2019
His first green jacket arrived as a 21-year-old breakout star in 1997 when he dominated the field to win by 12 strokes; it remains a record margin of victory in any major.
Consecutive Masters wins arrived in 2001 and 2002 before a play-off win over Chris DiMarco gave him his fourth Augusta win in 2005.
Woods’ most recent Masters victory arrived in 2019 as he ended his 11-year wait for a major, finishing just a stroke ahead of Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele to claim his fifth green jacket.
Nicklaus has six titles at Augusta National and while improbable it is not impossible that Woods may be motivated to try and match that before he hangs up his clubs.
TIGER WOODS’ RECOVERY TIMELINE TO PLAY THE MASTERS
February 2021 – Suffers career-threatening injuries in a serious single-vehicle car crash in Los Angeles
November 2021 – Footage of Woods hitting a shot with a wedge is posted to his social media accounts
December 8, 2021 – Woods announces he will play the PNC Championship with son Charlie
December 18, 2021 – Woods and his son produce stunning final round but finish second at the tournament in Orlando
February 2022 – Woods admits recovery has been slower than he wanted. ‘I wish I could tell you when I’m playing again,’ he said
March 29, 2022 – Fuels speculation of return after playing practice round at Augusta
April 3, 2022 – Woods practices at Augusta again with less than a week before start of the Masters
April 5, 2022 – Woods reveals in a press conference that he is planning to compete at the 2022 Masters. Will make final decision after nine practice holes on Wednesday morning
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