Ahead of the Masters at Augusta National, there have been sightings of a big cat among the blooming azaleas and the pink dogwood. Tiger Woods sparked a media frenzy when he played a practice round at Augusta National last week and speculation over whether he will tee it up next week reached fever pitch with no official announcement as of yet.
The 15-time major champion hasn’t played competitively since shattering his right leg in a life-threatening car accident one year ago but appears to be attempting to make his latest comeback at the site of his last major triumph in 2019.
Sky Sports expert Butch Harmon feels if Tiger does compete in this years Masters it will be a bigger achievement than when he came back from spinal fusion surgery and won in 2019.
“Knowing Tiger the way I used to know Tiger, I think if he doesn’t feel he can be competitive he wouldn’t even play,” said Harmon. “If he does show up and play I think we have to believe that he thinks he can get it done [win].
“What’s taller than Everest? That’s what he is climbing, he is amazing, he is truly amazing. The things that he has come back from are mind-boggling. If he could pull this one off, even if he doesn’t win and just plays respectably, makes the cut, maybe gets in the hunt a little I think it’s probably even bigger than when he came back and won in 2019.
“If you consider the severity of the traffic wreckage that he created for himself it’s amazing he’s still alive let alone still able to play.”
Harmon coached Tiger Woods during the most successful period of his career (1996-2002) and he believes if Tiger feels he can walk the fairways at Augusta National for four straight days, then he would not be surprised to see him tee it up next week.
“The big concern was always going to be can he walk the hills at Augusta with that leg that was so injured. He may have answered that to himself because I understand he played 18 holes there, so he would know whether he can or can’t on that. It’s not just one day he’s got to do it for four days in a tournament.
“I mean, that wreck looked terrible that first of all, we saw the accident we were happy that he lived that was the first thing. Secondly, when we read about how shattered the leg was, we wondered would he even be able to walk and carry on a normal life? And then we saw him a while ago playing with his son in the Father and Son tournament and he played rather well but he was riding a cart in that.
“You really have no idea how his practice round went but I think for him the big thing was can he walk 18 holes at Augusta on this leg and on those hills for four straight days. If the answer is yes then knowing Tiger the way I do I don’t think he’d show up anywhere unless he felt like he had a chance to be very competitive I don’t think that’s his nature to show up and shoot 78, 78 that’s not Tiger Woods.
“You can never say never with Tiger Woods. He will always prove you wrong, he has this tremendous will to survive no matter what it is and he is very competitive in everything he does. I for one never thought he could win another tournament let alone a major again and he did that when he came back.
“Nothing surprises me about the guy,” he added.
Tiger is still listed to compete on the Masters website and with four days to go until the tournament begins, it seems increasingly likely that the 82-time PGA Tour winner will make yet another dramatic comeback next week.
Watch The Masters this April live on Sky Sports and NOW. Coverage from April 4-10 will be exclusively live on Sky Sports Golf.