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Tiger Woods’ standing for The Masters 2022: Will he play at Augusta this yr?

Tiger Woods made his triumphant return to Augusta this weekend to start competitors in The Masters 2022. After weeks of hypothesis and game-time choices, Woods made the choice to take to the course and see if he may make an influence.

There’s no good solution to say it: Woods was dangerous in Saturday, actually dangerous. He shot a career-worst 78 within the third spherical, clearly a product that the event was attending to be an excessive amount of for him.

Limping between pictures at Augusta, Woods’ placing was off for a lot of the day — and the afternoon sealed that there can be no miraculous come-from-behind win. It was an achievement in itself simply to get on the market and play, however the consequence on Saturday underscored that whereas Tiger’s spirit is keen, he’s not fairly ready to be again in competitors.

Woods shot -1 within the first spherical for a 71. He was +2 in Friday’s second spherical for a 74. Woods made the lower and can start the weekend at +2 in nineteenth place general. He trails chief Scottie Scheffler by 9 pictures with 36 holes to go.

Woods bogeyed 4 of his first 5 holes to begin the second spherical amid windy circumstances. He has now made the lower all 22 instances he’s competed in The Masters.

Right here’s a full take a look at the leaderboard after spherical two.

It started early on Thursday, with Tiger teeing off for the primary time in an expert occasion since his February 2021 automotive accident.

It wasn’t his finest shot, and Woods was clearly disillusioned in himself — but it surely’s comprehensible contemplating his aggressive spirit. Woods went on to make par, and whereas he’s enjoying decently, it’s additionally clear that he’s in some ache as he walks, in addition to some discomfort driving the ball.

Tiger is even via 10, and he’s getting a little bit pissed off.

However then he returned with a birdie on 13, and sure, it’s extremely early — however Tiger is within the hunt people. Merely superb.

He’s additionally hitting some ludicrous pictures like a person possessed.

Total it was a really strong spherical for Woods, and superb contemplating the circumstances. He wasn’t at all times good, however anybody hoping for “classic Tiger” on Thursday have been at all times going to be let down. That is an athlete pushing via unimaginable adversity to even be at this level, and it’s clear that each gap is a battle on his surgically repaired leg — and nonetheless completed excessive.

There have been moments of brilliance. Despite the fact that he bogeyed on 8 and 14, there was no signal of give up as he clawed again with an enormous birdie on 16 to complete the day -1.

Right here is Tiger’s official scorecard from the primary spherical.

by way of Masters.com

Let’s talk about what bought us to this second.

Main as much as Augusta …

It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen Tiger Woods compete in an expert event, however the {golfing} icon may be able to get again on the course. One of many main tales main as much as The Masters this week is whether or not or not Tiger will play in his first occasion since his horrific February 2021 automotive accident. Whereas realistically no person thinks Woods can win, everybody needs to see him again on the course.

On Tuesday this drew nearer to a actuality. In a press convention at The Masters Woods introduced that “as of proper now” he's planning to play within the event, nevertheless he needs to apply some extra and attempt to get a full 9 holes in earlier than making a last determination.

Woods went on so as to add that he really believes he can win The Masters, saying that he doesn’t have any issues about his potential to play golf, or hit the ball — however that strolling would be the huge check to find out whether or not he feels he can go.

Tiger’s potential return is one thing everybody needs to see. The previous No. 1 remains to be the draw of the golf world, even when he hasn’t held the highest spot since 2014. This has led to a fevered pitch at Augusta as folks cling off each heat up, every look, even his footwear to try to glean data on whether or not Woods will compete this week or not.

What occurred in his automotive accident?

Early within the morning of February 23, 2021 studies emerged that Woods had been concerned in a severe automotive accident. A single-vehicle crash, Woods was concerned in a rollover during which his SUV ran off the highway at a reported 80 miles per hour, near Ranchos Palos Verdes, California.

After leaving the highway, Woods’ automobile rolled down a steep incline, coming to relaxation on the backside of a ditch, resting on its aspect. Emergency personnel needed to take away Woods from the automobile utilizing the jaws of life, and whereas his accidents weren't life-threatening, he was transported to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Middle with severe accidents.

The breadth of Woods’ quite a few accidents have been extremely extreme for a professional athlete. He suffered open fractures (generally known as “compound fractures”) to the tibia and fibula in his proper leg and ankle, in addition to structural and mushy tissue injury to his proper ankle.

Chatting with the media in November of 2021, Woods detailed how severe his accidents have been. He stated the injury to his leg was so in depth that “amputation was on the desk,” although medical doctors have been capable of save his limb via surgical intervention.

When did Tiger final compete?

We final noticed Tiger on the course on the father/son PNC Championship in December, when Tiger and Charlie Woods completed second to John Daly and John Daly II — although that was largely a relaxed, pro-am ambiance.

It’s been virtually 18 months since Woods final competed in an expert occasion, coincidentally sufficient at The Masters 2020. Covid delayed the occasion, pushing the Augusta custom from March to November of 2020, and noticed Woods end thirty eighth.

Nonetheless, The Masters have at all times been particular for Tiger. In 2019 he shocked the world by successful successful the occasion from lengthy odds. He earned his fifth inexperienced jacket, breaking a tie with Jack Nicklaus and placing him only one away from tying Arnold Palmer for 1st.

Is it sensible to suppose he'll return?

The chance for Woods’ return has been one thing on the playing cards for this yr, however when initially requested Woods has downplayed coming again for The Masters 2022.

As lately as Sunday he threw water on rumors he was on the point of come again this week by saying he was a “recreation time determination,” however extra notably identified simply how a lot rehabilitation he’s been engaged on, to not play golf, however merely stay his life.

“I’m nonetheless engaged on the strolling half. My foot was a little bit tousled there a few yr in the past, so the strolling half is one thing that I’m nonetheless engaged on, engaged on energy and improvement in that. It takes time. What’s irritating is it’s not at my timetable. I wish to be at a sure place, however I’m not. I’ve simply bought to proceed working. I’m getting higher, sure. However as I stated, not on the pace and price that I would love. You add within the age issue too. You simply don’t fairly heal as quick, which is irritating.”

Woods went on so as to add that any form of golf apply has been exceedingly restricted. He informed reporters that he has been placing and chipping the ball, mentioning that it’s going effectively, however that he’s had subsequent to no apply driving the ball or engaged on his lengthy recreation.

Nonetheless, rumors swirled — particularly when The Masters launched an inventory of former champions who wouldn’t be enjoying in 2022, with Woods’ identify notably off the listing. It might appear the door was open for Tiger to make a triumphant return, regardless of all indicators pointing to him nonetheless being a protracted, great distance from returning to competitors. Now he’s displaying that he’s forward of schedule, and believes he can go.

Woods is in Augusta, and dealing to compete

It’s essential to not conflate Woods being in Augusta with a assure that he’s enjoying. There’s ample cause for Woods to be concerned in The Masters in some capability aside from enjoying. The Champion’s Dinner has lengthy been an event for winners of the previous to look at Augusta, serving because the de facto social gathering of the yr for skilled golfers.

This additionally marks his first main return to the highlight on this planet {of professional} golf, which suggests Woods may very well be utilizing his look on the occasion to get the media consideration out of the way in which now, so when he is able to get again on the course he received’t be met with the identical stage of scrutiny.

What’s this I heard about his sneakers?

Everyone seems to be clamoring for some signal that Woods may come again, as a result of that’s how a lot folks wish to see Tiger play once more. This additionally occurred Sunday when folks observed he was practising in FootJoy model sneakers, reasonably than his signature Nikes.

Advertising themselves as a “extra snug {golfing} shoe,” Woods sporting FootJoys has prompted hypothesis that he’s extra severe about making an attempt to play than he’s letting on. Altering sneakers can be important in gentle of his long-term sponsor, although many have taken the change to FootJoy to imply that he’s searching for some foot aid and luxury that might permit him to stroll comfortably on his surgically repaired leg throughout The Masters.

These rumors appear to have at the very least some enamel, with Nike issuing an announcement that was supportive of their athlete, however acknowledged their merchandise won't be suited to him proper now.

“Like golf followers around the globe, we're delighted to see Tiger again on the course,” Nike stated in an announcement. “He's an unimaginable athlete, and it's phenomenal to see him returning to the sport at this stage. His story continues to transcend sport and encourage us all. As he continues his return, we'll work with him to fulfill his new wants.”

So look, will Tiger play?

Solely Tiger Woods can reply that. Truthfully, the sense is that he actually, actually needs to return, however he’s simply fairly there but. The query then pivots as to if Tiger would take to Augusta realizing his recreation is proscribed and he won't be capable of end a spherical, or would he reasonably wait till he can return at his finest?

Historical past tells us Woods would sooner skip an occasion than ship a sub-par efficiency, however that is very completely different to his previous accidents. The world would fully perceive if he can’t play, or is compelled to retire early — and no person has any illusions that Tiger may shock the sphere in 2022 and win The Masters.

No matter occurs subsequent, Tiger would be the discuss of Augusta till the event begins on Thursday. If he’s capable of go, the reception he will get at that first tee may very well be essentially the most emotional we’ve ever seen.


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