Tiger Woods says Masters will be ‘game-time decision’
April 03, 2022
By Sean Martin , PGATOUR.COM
- Tiger Woods tweeted Sunday that his appearance in this year's Masters will be a “game-time decision.” (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods arrived at Augusta National’s driving range at 3:20 p.m. Sunday afternoon, wearing a peach shirt and black pants. He quickly worked through his bag during a 20-minute warm-up, closing by hitting three shots with a fairway wood and seven with his driver before walking to a cart and being shuttled to the 10th tee.
Woods tweeted earlier in the day that his highly-anticipated Masters appearance would be a ‘game-time decision,’ but he didn’t look like a player whose status was uncertain.
“He looked good to me,” former FedExCup champion Billy Horschel, who watched Woods hit balls Sunday afternoon, told PGATOUR.COM. “He looked like the Tiger we saw before the accident, … the way the swing looked and the speed.”
That Tiger is just three years removed from his fifth Masters victory. Horschel estimated that Woods was carrying his drives 290 yards into a slight breeze Sunday, plenty long to play at a course he knows so intimately.
“For him to even be here this week, and hopefully be playing – which I think he is – I think we’re all giddy about it,” Horschel added. This year’s Masters falls on the 25th anniversary of Woods’ record-breaking first win at Augusta National, when he won by 12 shots and set the tournament scoring record. CBS will run a documentary on the win before Sunday’s final-round broadcast.
Horschel isn’t the only one excited about Woods’ potential return. Videos of Woods walking at his home course, Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida, and deplaning in Augusta, Georgia, have led to a week’s worth of anticipation. The Masters would be Woods’ first official tournament since his single-car accident in February 2021.
His swing isn’t the question, however. It’s his surgically-repaired right leg, the one that doctors considered amputating after it was severely damaged in last year’s accident. Augusta National always seemed like an unlikely site for Woods’ return because of its hilly terrain. ESPN’s Curtis Strange, a two-time U.S. Open champion, called Augusta National “the hardest walk in golf.”
Woods exceeded expectations when he played the PNC Championship in December with his son Charlie, but he was able to ride in a cart and didn’t need to hit all the shots in that scramble event. Tiger’s ability to walk 72 holes, plus practice rounds, would determine when he would tee it up again. When he spoke in February at his Genesis Invitational, he was uncertain when that would be.
“The walking part is something that I'm still working on, working on strength and development in that,” he said while expressing frustration that his recovery was taking longer than expected. “It takes time.”
The flat links of St. Andrews, site of this summer’s Open Championship, seemed like a possible venue for Woods to play. But anticipation about a potential Masters appearance grew as Woods remained in the field and not in the “Past Champions Not Playing” section of the Masters website. Then, flight-tracking websites showed Woods’ private jet flying to Augusta.
Woods may not be ready to confirm he’s playing the Masters, but Sunday offered one positive sign for those hoping to see him return.