As he said more than once on Tuesday, the buggy, a golf cart, waits, especially after a rollover car accident in 2021 that could have cost him his life and certainly his leg.
“Yes, the mobility, it’s not where I would like but… I’m very lucky to have this leg; it’s mine,” Woods, 47, said, speaking to reporters at his regular pre-tournament news conference. “Yes, it’s been altered and there’s some hardware in there, but it’s still mine.”
That adds a degree of difficulty for him in the teacherswhere the terrain is much more rugged than it appears on TV, and fickle weather can contribute to hastening fatigue.
“Oh yeah, I’ve seen it,” he said with mild exasperation when asked about this week’s forecast, which ranges from hot and humid to cloudy and breezy and a 90% chance of rain for Saturday.
Woods has an extremely long chance of winning his sixth Masters – a $10 bet on him would pay $670 – but he will always be a factor in the event because he draws a far bigger gallery than anyone else, and he’s not close.
He was 13 over par last year and finished 47hewhich was impressive considering it was a year after the accident.
“I think my game is better than last year at this particular time,” he said. “I think my stamina is better. But it hurts a little more than last year, because when I came back I hadn’t really pushed him that often.
Forest played in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera in February, an event he hosts, and subsequently took time off to prepare for the Masters.
“I have to be aware of how much I can push it…”, he said. “I can take a lot of shots, but the difficulty for me will be walking forward.”
When Woods won the Masters in 2019, it wasn’t entirely unexpected. There was some buildup in the form of winning the Tour Championship in 2018 and finishing second in the PGA Championship that same year.
That’s not the case now, as he withdrew after three rounds of last year’s PGA and missed the cut at the British Open. But the way he sees it, he’s hopeful at Augusta National because of his deep knowledge of the field.
“I’ve been able to recreate a lot of the chip shots at home in my backyard, or I’m in Medalist [his country club in Florida]) hitting balls from the lie side, trying to fake shots, and rehearsing over and over every flag location, every single shot he could possibly take.”
He said he hasn’t slept well lately, which isn’t unusual for him, and he finds himself taking all kinds of shots at Augusta to the head.
“I don’t have the physical tournaments under my belt,” he said. “I haven’t played that much, no. But if there is a golf course that I can return to, as I did last year, it is here. Just because I know the golf course.”