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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Tiger Woods doesn’t have many Masters left, however he nonetheless has loads at stake at Augusta

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The deep historical past between The Masters and Tiger Woods is winding down.

As golf mortality battles the 47-year-old Woods and his physique, it’s unclear what number of instances Tiger can proceed to play his most well-known occasion. Taking part in a restricted schedule since getting back from his 2021 automotive accident, Woods is principally coaching within the hopes of profitable main No. 16.

Optimism for no less than a aggressive weekend for Tiger at Augusta grew after February’s Genesis Invitational. A made reduce and top-45 end gave followers a glimpse of Woods hitting quite a lot of deep drives, impeccable approaches, and well timed putts. Internet hosting and enjoying in solely his fourth official occasion since getting back from the accident, the Genesis was Tiger’s most full effort in his newest comeback. Much more importantly, Woods regarded extra bodily able to competing by way of a four-round occasion.

However at the same time as enthusiasm for yet another particular Tiger run at Augusta builds, the fact is time not being on his facet.

Woods has maintained transparency about his restricted aggressive window and the way his physique doesn’t have a lot time. That message was reiterated once more by Woods on Tuesday. “I don’t know what number of extra I’ve in me,” he mentioned.

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After 5 Inexperienced Jackets and a long time price of recollections, 2023 is likely to be the final time we get Tiger – no less than at this aggressive degree – at The Masters.

So the place do issues stand coming into the week?

The strolling, not the golf, would be the greatest consider how Tiger fares

Throughout Woods’ stable weekend on the Genesis in February, the -4 third-round effort was notably notable. Taking part in the weekend for the primary time since miraculously making the reduce finally 12 months’s 2022 Masters, Woods maintained an above-average ball velocity off the tee and was ninth in strokes gained, tee-to-green in a loaded occasion.

After struggling to back-to-back 78s through the weekend at Augusta final 12 months, and failing to even make the reduce within the ensuing PGA Championship and Open Championship, the Genesis confirmed that Woods’ bodily well being and pre-event preparation had been inching nearer to maintaining him in play for a full weekend.

“I believe my recreation is healthier than it was final 12 months at this explicit time,” Woods mentioned Tuesday. “I believe my endurance is healthier. Nevertheless it aches a bit bit greater than it did final 12 months simply because at that exact time once I got here again, I actually had not pushed it that always. And I had a bit window by which I did push it and was in a position to come again.”

“I can hit lots of the photographs, however the problem for me goes to be the strolling going ahead. It’s what it’s. I want it might be simpler.”

A lot of the photographs are seemingly inside play within the Tiger arsenal. It’s the rolling hills of Augusta National that turns into the foremost query. At 7,545 yards (thanks in-part to the rollback of the thirteenth tee), Augusta Nationwide is the eighth longest rotation course on the yearly PGA Tour calendar. Tv broadcasts have accomplished a greater job in recent times of displaying angles that seize the intense elevation adjustments that Augusta has to supply. The drop from the tenth teebox to the eleventh inexperienced alone is over 100 ft of strolling downhill.

Throughout a probably chilly, windy and moist weekend, strolling up and down hills, whereas staying free, might be a notable consider the place Woods finds himself on the leaderboard.

“If he didn’t must stroll up these hills and have all of that, I’d say he’d be one of many favorites,” apply spherical accomplice Rory McIlroy mentioned Tuesday. “He’s bought all the photographs. It’s simply that bodily limitation of strolling 72 holes, particularly on a golf course as hilly as this.”

Tiger stayed constant and clear about his restricted schedule now and going ahead

Positive play on the Genesis Invitational additionally triggered questions on Woods and his ongoing schedule for 2023 and past.

4 majors was at all times mentioned publicly by Woods, since his comeback final 12 months, because the core benchmark of his schedule. However enjoying an everyday PGA Tour occasion just like the Genesis Invitational raised questions on a potentially-refreshed Woods seeking to put together earlier than majors at different occasions.

However as Woods passed over {old} favorites like Bay Hill and massive occasions just like the Gamers’ Championship throughout March, it grew to become clear that Woods is adhering to a mostly-majors schedule for now.

“My mobility is just not the place I would love it, however I’m very fortunate to have this (proper) leg,” Woods mentioned Tuesday. “Sure, it has been altered and there’s some {hardware} in there, nevertheless it’s nonetheless mine. It has been powerful and it at all times will likely be powerful.

“Mobility and endurance and what my leg will do going ahead won’t ever be the identical. I perceive that. It’s one of many causes I can’t put together and play in as many tournaments as I’d like. That’s my future and that’s okay. I’m okay with that.”

Tiger stays an vital historic fixture of The Masters

In his older years on Tour, Woods has regularly proven appreciation for the sport and giving again to it. That theme is throughout Tiger’s schedule this week at Augusta Nationwide.

Monday’s apply spherical was spent with Rory McIlroy, Fred {Couples} and 20-year-old Tom Kim. Tuesday’s press convention noticed Woods communicate glowingly about his youthful years at Augusta enjoying with extra skilled legends like {Couples}, Raymond Floyd, Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal.

Tiger’s new impression on Augusta is available in displaying methods and distinctive methods to take angles to the following era that may proceed to play the course after his retirement. It was once Tiger getting signatures from Arnold Palmer after an ace in entrance of him on the Masters Par 3. Now Tiger is the legend enjoying with present No. 1 caliber gamers as he did with Jon Rahm through the 2022 Masters closing spherical.

Cross-generational moments involving Woods turn out to be more and more uncommon throughout his restricted time within the Augusta Nationwide highlight. For now, there are enjoyable and memorable moments like Woods, McIlroy, {Couples} and Kim skipping the sixteenth inexperienced throughout a apply spherical.

Tiger Woods tee instances, schedule, group at The Masters 2023

Spherical 1 – Thursday

Group 12: Tiger Woods, Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffle – 10:18 a.m. ET

Spherical 2 – Friday

Group 27: Tiger Woods, Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffle – 1:24 p.m. ET

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