The world has been on alert across the last few days as we wait for Tiger Woods to announce whether he will play the 2022 Masters at Augusta National. After rumors swirled across the last week given Woods was seen practicing at his home course of Medalist in South Florida, he has now been spotted in Augusta, Georgia, after taking a flight to the site of the Masters.
Woods is reportedly in town with his son, Charlie, and friend Justin Thomas, according to Sports Illustrated. He is playing Augusta National on Tuesday in an attempt to get some prep work in ahead of the 86th edition of the tournament. It was previously reported that Woods was joined by his caddie, Joe LaCava, at Medalist for some practice; however, it was actually friend and confidant Rob McNamara who walked with Woods, a source tells CBS Sports.
Of course, none of this means the five-time Masters champion has officially decided to play the tournament, but it sure is a lot of smoke for there not to also be a fire, especially from somebody who has those five green jackets in 23 appearances.
Woods hasn’t played in an official tournament since the 2020 Masters, held that November, which preceded another back surgery for him at the beginning of 2021 and his horrific car accident in late February 2021. He said recently that his accident nearly resulted in the loss of his right leg.
Tiger has been adamant that he’s being patient with his return to golf. Despite playing in the PNC Championship with Charlie in December 2021, he has refused to commit to any specific timeline for a return to the PGA Tour. He has instead insisted that any schedule he plays in the future will be limited.
When queried in February about whether he would be at the Masters by Jim Nantz on CBS, Woods would only confirm that he would be there on Tuesday for the Champions Dinner. And while it now appears that he might be there for much more than that, this potential reentry is a break from what is expected from Woods.
The 15-time major winner has always insisted that he only plays golf tournaments to win them, but he’s also admitted that it took him months and months of building up before he was ready to win the 2019 Masters. He must know that he doesn’t have a realistic chance to win this year’s Masters, which would insinuated that he’s there for the festivity of it rather than to slip on a green jacket.
That’s to be celebrated, of course, because a tournament with Tiger Woods in attendance is always better than one in which he’s absent, but it’s certainly different than what we’ve come to expect from Woods.
In 23 Masters appearances, Tiger has five victories and and astounding 14 top-10 finishes.