He plays! The sensational comeback of superstar Tiger Woods at the US Masters electrified the golf world.
Tiger Woods smiled briefly, then let the cat out of the bag. “As of now, I’m going to play,” said the superstar, answering the question that had been electrifying the entire golfing world for days. Yes, Woods is actually making his almost impossible sensational comeback at the 86th edition of the US Masters.
And not only that. At his press conference on Magnolia Lane, Woods was asked whether he could even win the tournament. “I can do that,” said the 46-year-old before his first appearance at an official tournament since his fatal car accident in February last year.
“Back then I didn’t think I’d be sitting here now. I haven’t gotten out of bed for three months,” said the five-time Masters champion.
“Tiger mania” like 25 years ago
Before the first tee on Thursday, he wants to use the last day off for a practice round. “I’ll play nine more holes tomorrow. I’ve recovered really well,” he said. Even his competition had longed for the exceptional player to start after his life-threatening horror crash. On Thursday at 4:34 p.m. CEST the time has come: Woods will go on the round together with former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa) and Joaquin Niemann from Chile. It starts on Friday at 7:41 p.m. CEST.
After the accident, Woods was still worried about his right leg last year. 13 months later he wants to tee off again in his “living room” at the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. Tiger-mania is back on venerable Magnolia Lane 25 years after Woods’ first triumph.
Tiger Woods: “Phenomenal” and “very impressive”
Already on his training lap on Monday, Woods was celebrated by thousands of enthusiastic people. When the 15-time major winner left the clubhouse, there were “scenes and an atmosphere like you’ve never seen before,” wrote three-time Masters winner Sir Nick Faldo on Twitter.
Woods played nine holes – and triggered enthusiasm. Every step, every swing is tracked. The performance was “phenomenal” and “very impressive,” said Fred Couples, who was on the pitch with Woods on Monday. “He looked like the tiger we saw before the accident,” said Billy Horschel.
Tiger Woods: Can leg last four rounds?
The question is, though, will Woods’ right leg hold up under the strain of the first major of the year? He overturned his car several times in February 2021, he is still feeling the consequences of the complicated broken legs – and the par 72 course in the state of Georgia is one of the hilliest on the tour. “If he can walk around here for 72 holes, then he’s going to compete,” said Couples.
Woods is eligible to play for life as a Green Jacket winner – not forgetting his first win in 1997 in Augusta by a record margin. For Woods, it’s not a tournament like any other. Woods had already announced himself for the traditional Champions Dinner on Tuesday evening.
It will by no means be the first miraculous return in an eventful career. The monument to the exceptional talent crumbled again and again – private missteps, affairs with women, and constant back problems. And yet Woods sensationally triumphed again in Augusta in 2019 after years of setbacks. The Masters in November 2020 was his last official tournament so far. Now he is returning.