Tiger Woods: “Augusta? Problem is walking”


Out of 86 editions of the Augusta Masters Tiger Woods has played 24 so far. But the one that opens tonight with the Par 3 Contest catwalk may not be his last appearance at Magnolia Lane. A geological era seems to have passed since that distant 1997, yet the eyes of the world are once again focused on him.

Tiger Woods, statements

“I don’t know how many other Masters are still waiting for me, so I just have to appreciate every single moment of this edition and keep a good memory. I will always give my best,” Big Cat said at a press conference in Augusta.

At 47, the man who made world golf history is not hiding and admits that the biggest problem is that leg miraculously saved from the February 2021 accident. always suffer in the race with my physique”. The leg hurts, it is useless to hide it. On a path full of ups and downs like Augusta the pain becomes even stronger. Those who saw him on the test ride with his friend Fred Couples speak of a Tiger with a limp, both on the ups and downs of the field. Twelve months ago he used the irons as a stick to help him walk.

Fortunately Woods hasn’t lost that desire to play that still keeps him in the spotlight. To those who ask him if he is in Georgia to win as has already happened five times, the champion doesn’t tell her. “Am I a threat to those who want to wear the green jacket? Also in 2019 no one considered me a threat, then you all know how it ended”. Four years ago, for the uninitiated, Woods won his fifteenth Major here, overtaking Francesco Molinari on the last day.

Tiger Woods is not only one of the institutions of the Augusta Masters 2023. With Rory McIlroy he is also the leader of the old guard of golf professionals, the one that did not accept the petrodollar sirens of the LIV Golf Tour, i.e. the Arab SuperLeague. Big Cat seems to have refused a billion dollar engagement in order to remain faithful to the PGA Tour. At the 2023 Masters the against us or against us rule does not apply: at the start there will be both golfers who remain loyal to the PGA (and to the DP World) than the secessionists. In all there are 88 players, eighteen of whom come from LIV Golf. Who knows what would happen if tomorrow the green jacket ended up on the shoulders of one of them.

Just to give an idea of how strong the rift is, just think that of the 18 secessionists, six are past winners from Augusta. These are Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel and Bubba Watson. At least two of them have what it takes to repeat themselves on Sunday 9 April.

From Thursday to defend the title will be Scottie Scheffler, number 1 in the world with the dream of becoming the first player since 2001-2002 (Woods) to win consecutively the competition. Tiger, now number 1,001 in the world ranking, dreams of emulating Jack Nicklaus’ record of six statements.

Francesco Molinari will also be in the race. In 2019 his dreams of glory vanished in the water, on the “Amen Corner”. At his 12th appearance in Augusta, Molinari made his debut in 2006, not as a player but as a caddy for his brother Dodo, now vice-captain of Team Europe at the Ryder Cup in Rome. From Jon Rahm to Patrick Cantlay, from Max Homa to Xander Schauffele and Will Zalaris. These and many other champions are able to impose themselves in Augusta.

There will also be six amateurs on the field.

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