We take a look at Tiger Woods’ extensive history of injuries during his career.
USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK — Tiger Woods will attend the Champions Dinner the Tuesday night of Masters week. Teeing it up two days later is still on the table.
The four-time winner of the first major of the season said Monday during a tour to promote his book, The 1997 Masters: My Story (Grand Central Publishing, available at tigerwoodsmasters.com), that his troublesome back is feeling better and he is working hard to get ready to play in the Masters. Woods did not play the Masters in 2014 and 2016, and tied for 17th in 2015.
“I do have a chance,” to play, Woods told USA TODAY Sports in an exclusive interview. “I’m trying everything I possibly can to get to that point. I’m working, I’m working on my game. I just need to get to a point where I feel like I’m good enough, and I’m healthy enough to do it. …
“I’ve been a part of so many Masters over the course of my career, I know exactly what it takes to get ready for that event. Now it’s my job to go out there and get ready. I hope I can.”
Woods said he has been practicing, but not playing rounds of golf.
“It’s building, but I still have a little ways to go,” said Woods, who has until Thursday of the Masters first round to decide if he can play or not.
Woods last played in February at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, where he opened with a 77 and then withdrew with back spasms. Woods withdrew from the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic, and did not play in last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, which he has won a record eight times.
Lingering back issues have plagued Woods the past three years. In his first competitive rounds in 16 months in December in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, things looked promising as Woods and champion Hideki Matsuyama each made a tournament-leading 24 birdies.
In his first start on the PGA Tour since he tied for 10th in the 2015 Wyndham Championship, Woods shot 76-72 and missed the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open the last week of January.
He is not eligible to play in this week’s World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas. He could play in next week’s Shell Houston Open, but Woods has never played the Houston event, and has never played the week prior to the Masters as a pro.
“I’ve been practicing, I haven’t been playing,” Woods said.
One advantage Woods does have is his knowledge of Augusta National.
“Because I know how to prepare for it, and I know the golf course, I know where to miss it, I know where to play from, I know where the advantages are,” he said. “It’s almost like cramming for a final. I know the golf course, I know the subject, I know the material, now I just need to go out there and do it. That makes a big difference, whether or not I would come back and play a U.S. Open or a British Open or a PGA. It’s so much easier coming back for this particular event because I know the golf course.”
Woods said that if he can’t play the Masters, he remains committed to returning to competitive golf in the future.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I will be at Augusta, either way.”