Tiger Woods warms-up at Augusta four days out from the Masters, saying he will make a ‘game-time decision’ on whether to play

Tiger Woods will make a “game-time decision” on competing at the Masters, the five-times champion said on Sunday as he continues his recovery from the serious leg injuries he suffered in a car crash in February 2021. 

Woods said six weeks ago that he had a “long way to go” in his recovery but speculation mounted with each passing day that his return could come at the April 7-10 Masters as he refrained from removing his name from the field of competitors.

“I will be heading up to Augusta today to continue my preparation and practice. It will be a game-time decision on whether I compete,” Woods said on Twitter.

Woods later arrived at Augusta and hit balls for about 20 minutes, then got in a cart and headed to the course, which is closed on Sunday afternoon to everyone except players and caddies.

Unlike regular PGA Tour events, the Masters does not set a deadline for players to commit or withdraw from the tournament, which means Woods could wait until his Thursday tee-time before making a final decision.

Tiger Woods warmed up for 20 minutes before heading to the course at Augusta National days before the start of the Masters.(Getty Images: Gregory Shamus)

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Woods was also listed on the pre-tournament news conference schedule that was released on Sunday and will meet the media at 11am ET on Tuesday at Augusta National.

“Knowing Tiger the way I know him, if he wasn’t totally like… pretty much feel he has a chance to win, he wouldn’t tee it up,” said 1998 Masters champion — and friend of Woods — Mark O’Meara.

If Woods decides to play — he played 18 holes at Augusta National five days ago — it would be his first competition against the world’s best players since November 15, 2020, when the Masters was moved to autumn because of the pandemic.

Woods’ single-car crash resulted in a three-week hospital stay in Los Angeles where he faced the possibility of having his right leg amputated.

He was then confined to a hospital-type bed for three months at his home in South Florida.

The 46-year-old Woods has not played on the PGA Tour since the November 2020 Masters. His only event since the accident came last December when he finished runner-up alongside his son in a 36-hole exhibition played on a flat course with no rough.

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Playing at Augusta National, however, represents one of the more taxing walks on the PGA Tour given its undulating terrain that all but assures golfers will hit from any number of uneven lies during the week.

But Woods is no stranger to playing through pain, something he famously proved at the 2008 US Open where he prevailed in a thrilling play-off at Torrey Pines while competing on what was essentially a broken leg.

Woods capped one of the most remarkable comebacks in professional sport when, at the age of 43, he won the Masters in 2019 after enduring years of surgery and personal problems that convinced many the best golfer of his generation was done.

In December, Woods played the PNC Challenge father-son competition — a 36-hole scramble on a flat Florida course — with son Charlie. Woods was allowed to ride in a cart.

He and his son finished second when John Daly and his son birdied the last hole.

“It’s going to take a lot of work to get to where I feel I can complete against these guys and be at a high level,” Woods said that day.

Addressing the condition of his right leg in February, Woods said the limb was “altered” and that “my right leg doesn’t look like my left, put it that way.”

Former world number one Rory McIlroy had said it would be “phenomenal” for the sport to have Woods return to competition at Augusta.

Reuters/AP

Reference-www.abc.net.au

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