tiger woods

Tiger Woods says he’ll participate in the Masters this week, at least for the time being, despite almost losing a leg in a car accident a little more than a year ago.

The five-time Augusta National winner made the statement two days before the competition. He’ll play nine more practice holes on Wednesday night (AEST) before deciding, but he’ll do so with the goal of playing.

“I feel like I’m going to play right now,” Woods said.

Woods was asked whether he thought he could win this week. “I do,” he said.

“I can hit it perfectly,” Woods remarked. “I have no reservations about my athletic abilities as a golfer. The difficult part is now walking. To begin with, this is not an easy trek. Given the state of my leg, it becomes a bit more challenging. And 72 holes is a long way to go. It’ll be a difficult task, but one I’m willing to take on.”

There had been several indications in recent days that Woods was on the verge of returning to the game. He arrived to Augusta National for a practice round last week, then returned on Sunday (local time) and Monday for more, indicating he’d be “a game-time decision.” With terrible weather expected for Tuesday, he spent a lot of time in the practice grounds.

tiger woods masters
Tiger Woods has said that he intends to compete in the Masters and feels he can win. (Getty)

“It’s nice to be back,” remarked Woods.

He’ll tee off alongside Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann on Thursday at 10.34 a.m. (Friday, 12.34 a.m. AEST). That trio returns to action on Friday at 1.41pm (Saturday 3.41am AEST).

Woods competed in the PNC Challenge in December, a 36-hole scramble on a flat Florida course, finishing second behind John Daly and his son. Woods was permitted to use a cart in that tournament, and when the rounds were completed, he rejected any suggestion that his game was ready for the tour again.

“I can’t compete with these guys right now,” Woods said on December 19. “It’s going to take a lot of hard effort to get to the point where I feel like I can compete with these guys at a high level.”

The 2022 Masters will be broadcast live on 9Gem and 9Now

Woods seemed to have changed his mind little over three months later. He’ll be competing in the Masters for the 24th time if he competes; he’s finished in the top five 12 times in his previous 23 outings.

“I like competing,” Woods said. “I believe that if I can still compete at the greatest level, I will. And I’m going to play if I think I can still win. But if I don’t feel like I can, you won’t see me out here.”

Woods will participate against the world’s top players for the first time since the last round of that year’s pandemic-delayed Masters on November 15, 2020.

tiger woods masters
Tiger Woods works out before of the Masters. (Getty)

He underwent his fifth back surgery two months later and was still healing when he wrecked his SUV over a median on a suburban coastal route in Los Angeles and down the side of a hill on February 23, 2021.

Doctors debated amputation of Woods’ right leg before reassembling the limb by putting a rod in the tibia and using screws and pins to stabilize other damage in the ankle and foot.

“It’s been a difficult, difficult year… but here we are,” Woods added.

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