Tiger Woods has confirmed the news the golf world has been waiting for – he fully intends to tee up on Thursday on day one of this week’s Masters Tournament.
“As of right now I feel like I am going to play,” Woods told the media on Tuesday. “I’m going to play nine more holes tomorrow. My recovery has been good. I’ve been very excited about how I’ve recovered each and every day. That’s been the challenge. That’s why I came up here and played 27 holes testing it.”
The 15-time Major winner admitted he wouldn’t wish his last year of rehabilitation on anybody following his horrific SUV smash 14 months ago. Woods has said he’s still feeling pain playing golf, while the biggest challenge remains his recovery given the amount of swelling he needs to reduce post-round.
“I’ve worked hard,” he said. “My team has been unbelievable. I’ve been lucky to have great surgeons and great PTs and physios that have worked on me virtually every day. We’ve worked hard to get to this point, to get to this opportunity to walk the grounds, test it out, and see if I can do this.
“It’s been a tough, tough year and a lot of stuff that I had to deal with that I don’t wish on anyone, but here we are, Masters week. Being able to play and practice — for me, more importantly, just to say thank you to all the guys that have texted me, FaceTimed me, and called me and given me all their support, to see them in person and to say thank you has meant a lot.”
Much has been made of Augusta’s severely sloping fairways and although Tiger has been pushing through so far this week, it’s how his body responds that remains the unknown with a hopeful 72-holes of competition to come from Thursday’s opening day.
“It’s the recovery,” Woods repeated. “How am I going to get all the swelling out and recover for the next day. My team has been fantastic and worked very hard. So we’ve got another day of nine more holes and then comes game time.”
“[But] if I’m in a fairway, it’s all good. The only flat spots out here are the 18 tee boxes. Other than that, there’s nothing flat about this place. If I have to worry about it being in 14 fairways, I’ll take that any day.”
On weighing up his decision to compete, Woods joked: “If it was back home at Medalist, it would have been a helluva lot easier, yes.”
All that being said, Woods was asked if he believes he can win the Masters this week.
“I do,” he said. “I can hit it just fine. I don’t have any qualms about what I can do physically from a golf standpoint. It’s now walking is the hard part. This is normally not an easy walk to begin with. Now given the conditions that my leg is in, it gets even more difficult.
“You know, 72 holes is a long road, and it’s going to be a tough challenge and a challenge that I’m up for.”
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