While the world eagerly awaits phrase from Tiger Woods on whether or not he’ll play in subsequent week’s Masters — an announcement may come on Friday — Rory McIlroy on Wednesday added extra gasoline to the concept Woods may make his return to golf at the 12 months’s first main.
In an interview with Golf Channel forward of this week’s Valero Texas Open, the Northern Irishman stated that the 15-time main champion “looked great” when he noticed him at Augusta National the day earlier than. Both have been at the membership for observe rounds, with Woods reportedly being joined by his son Charlie in addition to Justin Thomas.
“It’s unbelievable,” McIlroy, who lives about 20 minutes from Woods in South Florida, instructed the community. “I spent some time with him a few weeks ago at his house and at that point, it didn’t look possible. He’s definitely made a lot of big strides over the last few weeks.”
McIlroy cautioned that the five-time Masters winner is being “conservative” in his method however that he can be “doing everything he can to play” within the event.
“If he does play,” McIlroy stated, “it would be a monumental achievement from where he was last year.”
Speculation about Woods’ return started to percolate over the weekend when a video surfaced displaying him working towards at his house course, Medalist. Then on Tuesday, Woods’ jet was picked up by a number of websites that monitor airplanes because it flew from South Florida to Augusta, Ga.
Though Woods’ agent didn’t reply to a textual content message from The Post on Tuesday in search of remark, one supply who is aware of Woods nicely instructed The Post that he believes Woods will certainly play. A participant who didn’t need to be recognized additionally thinks it’s probably Woods will attempt to give it a go.
No one may say for sure, although, and Woods himself may not even know but. Much will probably rely upon how the 46-year-old’s physique feels within the days after having traversed notoriously hilly Augusta National and whether or not he feels it is going to be ready to maintain up for a complete week of main championship golf.
Woods hasn’t performed in a PGA Tour occasion since sustaining a number of critical accidents in a high-speed, single-car accident exterior Los Angeles in February 2021. The crash resulted in a number of surgical procedures on his proper leg, together with to his decrease leg and ankle.
Last December, Woods did play the 36-hole PNC Championship, an unofficial event, together with his son Charlie however used a cart to get across the Orlando course. In February, Woods additionally stated that he’d made important progress since then however remained noncommittal about when he would compete on tour once more, saying solely that he would play a restricted schedule transferring ahead.
If he is ready to tee it up, Woods would definitely be welcomed again with open arms, by followers and his fellow opponents.
“I think for golf and for the Masters tournament and for everyone, to have Tiger there would be phenomenal,” McIlory stated throughout his press convention in San Antonio. “I think it just adds to the event. Obviously, it does. Anything Tiger Woods does in the game of golf is heightened whenever he’s there. I mean, it would be awesome for him to be there. You know, he was there [Tuesday] obviously and he’s trying to see what he can do. Obviously no one knows but him if he can make it around.”
Even the concept Woods may give you the chance to play as quickly as subsequent week, given the extent of his accidents, is outstanding.
“I’ve said this so many times, but from basically March of 2017 fast-forward two years and he wins the Masters and where he was with his body and what he had to do to get back to being somewhat healthy. And it’s not even being somewhat healthy, it’s also what he has to do before the round and after the round just to get himself ready to go and play golf,” McIlroy stated. “Yeah, the sheer will and perseverance, yeah, it’s unimaginable. If he comes again from this once more, it’s simply, he likes to show individuals incorrect.
“Regardless of when he does come back, whether it’s next week or a few weeks, few months down the line, he’s a wonderful addition to the game and the game of golf is better when he’s playing and when he’s playing well.”
Unlike a PGA Tour occasion, there is no such thing as a deadline to commit for the Masters. That means Woods may wait till subsequent week to announce whether or not he’ll play, although in comparable conditions up to now he has introduced his intentions on the Friday earlier than Masters week.