Tiger Woods to make 'game-time decision' about Masters return

Tiger Woods could leave it as late as Thursday morning to make his call about playing in this week’s 86th Masters after revealing that he will make a “game-time decision”.

Tiger Woods on the practice area prior after turning up on Sunday afternoon ahead of the 86th Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Tiger Woods on the practice area prior after turning up on Sunday afternoon ahead of the 86th Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

In a post on social media, the five-time winner revealed that a sensational return could still be on the cards in the season’s opening major.

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

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The 46-year-old landed in Waynesboro, which is about 20 minutes from Augusta, just before 2pm, soon after patrons attending the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals had all left Augusta National.

Tiger Woods embraces Billy Horschel on the practice area at Augusta National Golf Club. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.

Wearing a Georgia peach-coloured top and looking in great physical condition, Woods walked on to the practice range at 3.21pm with caddie Joe LaCava and long-time friend Rob McNamara, shaking hands with Kevin Na before starting to hit balls.

Broken up by a warm hug from BMW PGA champion Billy Horschel and chewing the fat with him, he hit 33 balls in total, including seven drivers to finish, in a warm up that lasted just under 20 minutes.

The course had been closed to the media, meaning that Woods was afforded total privacy as he headed out, starting at the tenth and likely to play just nine holes.

Woods, who also congratulated 16-year-old Anna Davis on her win in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur on Saturday in his tweet, played a practice round at the Georgia venue last Tuesday.

The 15-time major champion was joined for that by his 13-year-old son Charlie and Justin Thomas, the 2017 US PGA winner.

It allowed Woods to test out his right leg, which was badly injured in a car crash in Los Angeles 13 months ago, on one of the most undulating courses in golf.

Woods last played in an official event in the 2020 Masters, which was held in November due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The defending champion on that occasion, he tied for 38th behind Dustin Johnson.

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His life was then turned upside down a few months later as the 82-time PGA Tour winner was involved in a single-car accident in California.

He suffered serious injuries to his right leg and foot, admitting towards the end of last year when he hosted the Hero Challenge in the Bahamas that amputation of the leg had been a possibility.

Woods has also spoken about how he’d only play on a limited basis if he did return to the PGA Tour.

Rory McIlroy, who was also at Augusta National last Tuesday, spoke about the possibility of Woods playing this week ahead of the Valero Texas Open.

“I think for golf and for the Masters Tournament and for everyone, to have Tiger there would be phenomenal,” said the four-time major winner in San Antonio, where he then missed the cut.

“I think it just adds to the event. Anything Tiger Woods does in the game of golf is heightened whenever he’s there. It would be awesome for him to be there.

“He’s trying to see what he can do. Obviously, no one knows but him if he can make it around and if he believes he can compete.”

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