“Right now, I feel like I’ll play,” the five-time Masters champion said Tuesday after a practice round in Augusta, Georgia.
Woods has not played in a PGA Tour event since before suffering major leg injuries in a horrific car accident in February 2021 in Southern California.
The 46-year-old flew to Augusta last week to test his surgically repaired legs with some practice rounds, and was apparently pleased with the progress he has made in recovery.
“I worked hard to get to this point to test it out and see if I could do it,” Woods said.
Woods will play nine more practice holes on Wednesday before making a final decision, but will do so with the intention of playing Thursday.
He was driving in February 2021 alone through the suburbs of Los Angeles on the coast when his SUV hit an elevated median, crossing into opposite lanes and reversing several times. The crash caused ‘significant’ injuries to his right leg that required surgery. He was wearing a seatbelt at the time and the car’s airbags jumped in. He told deputies he had not taken any medication or had taken alcohol before the accident, sheriff’s officials said.
Tiger Woods warms up on the range during a practice round ahead of the Masters on Tuesday
Tiger Woods of the United States warms up as caddy Joe LaCava and Rob McNamara, Executive Vice President at TGR, watch a practice round ahead of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2022 in Augusta, Georgia
Tiger Woods arrives on the driving range Tuesday for a practice round for the Masters
There were a lot of signals the last few days that Woods was about to decide it was time to play again. He arrived at Augusta National last week for a practice round, then returned Sunday – saying he would be ‘a game-time decision’ – and Monday for more. Tuesday morning, with bad weather in the forecast, he spent a lot of time in the practice areas.
“It’s great to be back,” Woods said.
Woods played at the PNC Challenge in December, a 36-hole scramble on a flat Florida course where he and his son Charlie finished second to John Daly and his son. Woods was allowed to use a cart in that event, and when those rounds were over, he defeated any notion that his game was back to square one.
‘I can’t compete against these guys right now, no,’ Woods said on December 19. ‘It’s going to take a lot of work to get to where I feel I can compete with these guys and be at a high level. ‘
About 3-1 / 2 months later, Woods apparently feels different. If he plays, he will stand in the Masters for the 24th time; he has finished in the top five 12 times in his previous 23 appearances.
Thursday’s opening round would mark the first time Woods has competed against the world’s best players since November 15, 2020, which was the final round of the Masters with pandemic delay of that year.
He had his fifth back operation two months later and was still recovering from that on February 23, 2021 when he crashed his SUV over a median on a suburban coastal road in Los Angeles and down a hill.
Woods’ injuries from that collision were so severe that doctors considered amputation of the right leg before reassembling the limb by inserting a rod into the tibia and using screws and pins to prevent additional injuries to the ankle and foot. to stabilize.
“It’s been a tough, tough year … but here we are,” Woods said.
Woods told the sheriff’s deputies he did not know how the collision happened and did not even remember that he had been driving
In this Feb. 23 file, a law enforcement officer looks over a damaged car following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angeles. A man who found Woods unconscious last week in a wrecked SUV to the golf star who later told the sheriff’s deputies he did not know how the collision happened
Tiger and his 12-year-old son Charlie share a laugh during the PNC Championship, where the older Woods played his first competitive golf after his horrific car accident in 2021
Since the accident, Woods has moved from crutches to slow running and then playing in recent months. He started hitting balls at the back of the line at Albany during his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas last November.
But despite those obstacles, Woods looked sharp, according to those who saw him at the PNC Championships in December. Justin Thomas’ father got his first look at Woods who played a round in ten months and saw more than he expected.
“It’s crazy how well he beats – and far beats – for what he’s experienced,” said Mike Thomas. “It’s impressive where he is.”
It’s been 14 months since Woods rolled an SUV in Rancho Palos Verdes, California after constantly driving at more than 80mph – almost twice the legal speed limit.
Woods, the only person involved in the wreck, suffered multiple compound fractures in both legs and has been out of the public eye since he continued to rehab his injuries.
He had previously had his fifth back operation in January 2021, but insisted he expected to return to the tour.
However, Woods would miss the entire 2021 season because of the February wreck, which he was lucky enough to survive, according to police. Investigators considered the accident an accident but did not want to release the cause due to privacy concerns. Surprisingly, Woods ignored the breach to reach 400 feet after running into the media.
“I’m happy to be alive and well,” Woods told reporters in November. ‘Those are two crucial things, I’m very grateful that someone on top of me made sure I could not only be here, but also walk without a prosthesis.’
Woods trains for caddy Joe LaCava and Rob McNamara, vice president at TGR
Anish Mahajan, the interim general manager of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said a stick and pins were needed to stabilize Woods’ leg after the accident.
“Mr Woods suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower limb that were treated during emergency surgery,” he said. ‘Common open fractures affecting both the upper and lower parts of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia.
‘Trauma to the muscles and soft tissue of the leg required surgical release of the muscle cover to relieve pressure due to swelling.’
Fans and golfers responded by wearing red for Woods during the World Golf Championships later that month.
“It’s hard to explain how touching it was today when I turned on the TV and saw all the red shirts,” Woods tweeted. “To every golfer and every fan, you really help me through this difficult time.”
In April of 2021, Woods showed himself in his first photo since the accident. While smiling, Woods lay on crutches and his right leg remained in a protective cast.
Woods, who is no stranger to recovery from injury, described the demolition process Golf Digest a month later.
“This has been a completely different animal,” he said. ‘I understand more of the rehab processes because of my past injuries, but this was more painful than anything I’ve ever experienced.’
In April of 2021 (left), Woods showed himself in his first photo since the accident. While smiling, Woods lay on crutches and his right leg remained in a protective cast. In November 2021 (right), Woods walks without crutches or a cast on his right leg
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