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Woods appears set for Masters start
Published on: Sunday, April 07, 2024
By: AFP
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Woods appears set for Masters start
Tiger Woods appears set to make his 26th start at the Masters next week, but the 15-time major winner remains hampered by severe leg injuries from a 2021 car crash.
AUGUSTA: Tiger Woods appears set to make his 26th start at the Masters next week, but the 15-time major winner remains hampered by severe leg injuries from a 2021 car crash.

Woods, whose plane was tracked to Augusta a week ago, is listed to speak with reporters at Augusta National on Tuesday and remains among those in the tournament field on the event website rather than among non-playing champions.

But the 48-year-old US superstar, whose 82 PGA Tour wins shares the all-time record with Sam Snead, is struggling with injuries, according to his long-time pal Notah Begay.

“He’s trying to formulate a strategy and approach that he can work with given the constraints that he is presented with, and he has got some constraints,” Begay told reporters on Wednesday.

“He has got zero mobility in that left ankle and really has low-back challenges now, which he knew he was going to have.”

Woods won the 2019 Masters for his first major title since 2008, but has struggled since making his comeback from the 2021 auto accident at the 2022 Masters, finishing 47th when he struggled just to walk all 72 holes at the hilly layout.

Last year, Woods matched a Masters record by making a 23rd consecutive cut, pulling level with Gary Player and Fred Couples, but later withdrew due to plantar fasciitis and underwent ankle surgery last April.

The five-time Masters champion reportedly played Augusta National last weekend with pal Justin Thomas and Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley.

So far this season, the only PGA event Woods has played was at Riviera in February, when he withdrew after one round due to illness.

The main struggle for Woods is walking a full four rounds, Begay said.

“He has been trying to find a way to recover,” Begay said. “He can play the golf. We always knew the question was going to be, ‘Can he walk the 72?’ That’s still up in the air.

“Can he recover from one round to the next? That’s the biggest question. I really don’t know and he’s not going to know either until he gets out there and figures out whether the way he has prepared for this year’s Masters is going to work for him.”

Woods has delivered some of the most spectacular shotmaking ever seen at Augusta National, creating roars that reverberated through the pines along the famed course.

He captured his first major title at the Masters in 1997, won again in 2001 to complete a “Tiger Slam” of four major wins in a row, then joined Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo as the only back-to-back Masters winners with a 2002 triumph before taking the 2005 title.

In 2019, Woods completed a fairytale comeback by taking the Masters, having recovered from four back operations that left him wondering if he could have a normal life due to nagging pain, much less play golf again.

After his 2021 car crash, in which he suffered a shattered ankle and multiple fractures in his right leg, Woods said he was thankful to still have the leg but battled back for more than a year to make a comeback at the 2022 Masters.

Since then, however, Woods has played in only three majors, withdrawing at last year’s Masters and the 2022 PGA Championship and missing the cut at the 2022 British Open. 

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