Masters 2022: Is Tiger Woods Going To Make His Return To Golfing At Augusta Countrywide This 12 Months?


Given the country of his body (and his life) a year in the past, the query, “Will Tiger Woods play in the Masters?” — even though sincerely tiring and repetitive — need to sense just like the easiest burden inside the global for Woods to bear as April tactics. This time final yr, following his awful vehicle damage close to Los Angeles just after the 2021 Genesis Invitational, the query become no longer whether or not Tiger would step to the tee at the first foremost of the 12 months but as a substitute whether or not he would ever walk once more in any respect.

He has been taking walks, of course, but we failed to see him in public for a while. All four majors handed with out a word from Woods. The FedEx Cup Playoffs went by means of, and then the Ryder Cup was performed. It wasn’t till December on the Hero World Challenge that he reemerged, at once trying to quell expectations for what the rest of his career might appear like.

Woods insisted he might by no means play a complete slate again, pronouncing he would pick out and pick out his spots. It failed to appear like a good deal turned into coming near near.

But he accompanied that with a enormously spry performance later in December at the PNC Championship with his son, Charlie. Immediately, communicate of a twenty fourth Masters look began to percolate. Tiger appeared sturdy off the tee, and although he used a golfing cart, his distance manage (albeit in a glorified seasoned-am, if it became even that hard) become eye-beginning. It have become not possible to no longer start thinking about how his first round returned professionally can be at Augusta National on April 7.

“I’m now not at that degree,” Woods insisted after the PNC. “I cannot compete again those guys right now, no. It’s going to take a whole lot of paintings to get to where I feel like I can compete at these guys and be at a excessive level.”

After greater months of rehab, rest and healing, there was hope that Woods might sense prepared to make a global assertion on the Genesis Invitational on the only-year anniversary of his automobile crash.  But while he became interviewed by Jim Nantz for the duration of Round three at Riviera Country Club in late February, Woods rebuffed the perception that his return is imminent.

“I don’t know,” stated Woods, who regarded greater match and glad than he has in a long time. “I can hit balls. The tough component is honestly taking walks; that’s going to make the effort. I’m going to ought to positioned inside the effort and time at domestic and do all of the seashore walks and walk golfing guides. It’s very smooth at Medalist to hop in a cart and whip around and play a short 18 or 36. It’s a little exclusive deal than being out here with these men and stroll up and down the hills. The ankle mobility, over time the ankle swells, foot swells, leg swells. That’s simply time.

“I’d love to inform you I’ll be gambling subsequent week, however I do not know when [I’ll return]. It’s irritating in that feel due to the fact I’ve been down this road before with my again once I failed to recognize once I turned into going to return lower back. It’s hard to not have dreams out there. I want to play this occasion so I can set myself up for that mentally, physically and emotionally. I have no of those dates in my head.”

Woods additionally refused to commit to a playing date, despite the fact that Nantz attempted his exceptional to get it out of him.

Nantz: “Augusta, any shot which you could play the Masters this 12 months?”

Woods: “I do not know.” 

Nantz: “So, it is nonetheless a opportunity?”

Woods: “I’ll be there Tuesday [on the Champions Dinner].”

Tiger is sincerely decreasing lengthy-term expectations because he is aware of he most effective has so many swings left in his frame, however he’s doing so even as simultaneously placing us up for quick-time period surprise.

This passed off in December among the Hero and the PNC. At the Hero, just three weeks before the PNC, Woods talked like a man hobbling across the golfing route, slightly capable of hit wedges, tons less rip motive force. Then 3 weeks later he appeared … definitely suitable.

The lengthy-term diagnosis for Woods is not awesome. In addition to the leg, his again is a large number, and actually, it changed into the very aspect that became preserving him out of ultimate yr’s Genesis Invitational. But inside the brief time period? Anything is feasible.

So even as I don’t trust Woods will play Augusta in April, it is truly nonetheless on the desk. Just because he gave Nantz the Heisman pose in the booth weeks in the past would not suggest he’s now not going to be many of the 90-plus golfers placing a peg within the ground five weeks from Thursday.

It’s not that Tiger is being cheating right here — strolling the rolling hills of Augusta could surely be a actual trouble for him right now — but he changed into by no means going to present us the products at the cease of February both way. That’s now not how he operates.

If he does show up, will he be competitive? Perhaps a better way to say that: If the frame feels top, will he trust he may be aggressive enough to make showing up profitable?

History has tested out that Woods will no longer play if he would not trust he can legitimately contend, however he is carried out it before in this occasion. After no longer playing a competitive event from the stop of 2009 to the 2010 Masters, he completed T4 at Augusta that year. That was additionally 12 years (and several surgical procedures) ago. This could be his first expert event since the 2020 Masters in November. If he does play in this Masters, 18 months can have elapsed between seasoned starts offevolved.

Even if he believes he can compete, Woods nearly certainly knows he can’t win this 12 months’s Masters. Not after 18 months off. Not along with his body inside the form it’s in right now. It took months and months of constructing — remembering what it appears like in the warmth of the event — before he won the 2019 Masters, his Everest.

The query then will become: Does he want to play understanding he is probably capable of contend but has no risk of prevailing?

Tiger is aware of there will be lots of Masters in his destiny; he has a decade’s well worth of journeys round Augusta in front of him. Perhaps it’s great to not waste the ones constrained swings in this one.

The much more likely state of affairs for Woods, it appears, is a return this summer time for the Open Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Opens at St. Andrews have a shelf life, and Tiger has shared regularly his admiration for that golf direction and its area within the records of the game. He has likely two (at most) rips at an Open on that direction — wherein the Open goes to every 5th year or so — and he won’t want to miss this one. 

Tiger’s sense of golf records is brilliant, and though he has for almost all of his profession no longer given notion to being a ceremonial golfer (as described with the aid of not having a actual threat to win a tournament), this year’s Open might be an exception. Additionally, even though he would not get the prep paintings he wishes or his body is not one hundred%, it’s smooth to envision him convincing himself that his wisdom and genius deliver him a real opportunity on that course to perhaps get into the mixture a bit, perhaps see himself at the leaderboard. It’s an area in which your mind can triumph in a manner that other locations don’t allow.

So whilst returning at Augusta National in only over a month is a possibility, it’s not one really worth betting on. There are too many crimson flags going into the home stretch of committing to the first predominant of the 12 months.

Woods’ return to fundamental championship golfing should come at the 2022 Masters, and that might be a completely satisfied, extremely good second for him and for golf as a whole. However, the higher guess — if we see Tiger at all in 2022 — is at an equally-well-known route later in this summer whilst the one hundred and fiftieth Open is performed at St. Andrews for the thirtieth time in records.


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