The last time the PGA‘s most popular star, Tiger Woods, stood atop the world of golf, it was at The Masters in 2019. Word is, he’s back for the 2022 edition. Despite a year off recovering from injuries sustained in a car wreck last February, and years of back issues, the 15-time major winner has electrified the golfing world with word that he plans to play Augusta—and moreover—thinks he can win. His close friend and 1992 Masters Champion Fred Couples confirmed Tiger’s readiness to tee off in Georgia. Having played a round with Woods earlier in the week, Couples reported that, “He looks phenomenal.” Thousands turned up for his Monday practice round as excitement builds around the return of the game’s biggest star.
The Couples-Woods friendship is everything. pic.twitter.com/LucCx7gRs2
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) April 6, 2022
Woods sustained compound fractures to his right leg and ankle in a brutal car accident just over a year ago outside Los Angeles. Once surgeons evaded a serious threat of amputation, a long and trying recovery followed, and the challenge for the superstar since than has been walking an eighteen-hole course without pain. Yet Woods efforts seemed to have paid off. Masters.com writer Jim McCabe echoed Couples’ comments, saying that on Sunday Woods had, “played beautifully along the second nine of Augusta National in a practice session that lasted a little over two hours and never appeared laborious.”
The game’s most popular star has made a surprising return from injury to enter the field for the 2022 Master’s in Augusta, Georgia. The 5-time winner hopes to contend for a sixth green jacket ahead of rumors his game is looking “exceptional.”
If the 5-time Augusta winner can walk the course comfortably, and maintain his reportedly stellar ball striking, he will be a threat to a stacked field, including early favorites Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, and Justin Thomas, along with Players Championship winner Cameron Smith, two-time major champion Collin Morikawa, and Dustin Johnson, who won the pandemic “Fall Edition” of the Masters in 2020. This is not to mention last year’s winner, Hideki Matsuyama, who has struggled with injuries, but is hoping to become the first repeat winner in Augusta since—that’s right—Tiger Woods in 2001 and 2002.
Tiger Woods gallery on 18 … for a practice round. pic.twitter.com/EHWp7VXwO3
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 6, 2022
Should Woods contend this year, it won’t be without historical intrigue. The only man to win more majors than Tiger, the legendary Jack Nicklaus, won his final major at Augusta in 1986, overtaking a younger field at the age of 46. That year Nicklaus won his sixth green jacket, the most ever. Woods is now 46 years of age. A win on Sunday would also tie him with Nicklaus for the most victories at Augusta National.
Don’t miss out on golf history in the making beginning Thursday on ESPN and over the weekend on CBS.
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