Tiger Woods has dropped to world No 944 after not playing an official world ranking event since November 2020; 46-year-old to hold a press conference on Tuesday; watch The Masters at Augusta National live from April 7-10 live on Sky Sports Golf
Tiger Woods will make a “game-time” decision over whether he will make his long-awaited return to action at The Masters, in what would be his first major appearance since last February’s career-threatening car crash.
Woods has not featured in a top-level event since playing at Augusta National in November 2020, with the former world No 1 unable to compete on the PGA Tour since suffering career-threatening injuries in a serious car crash last February.
The 15-time major champion made an impressive comeback alongside his son, Charlie, at the PNC Championship in December but was still non-committal on a return date when discussing his future at the Genesis Invitational in February, saying he “didn’t know” when he would next compete.
Woods fuelled speculation about a major return when he went for a practice round at Augusta on Tuesday, just a few days after footage appeared on social media of him playing Medalist Golf Club.
On Sunday he continued practice at Augusta, and tweeted: “It will be a game-time decision on whether I compete.”
Woods is scheduled to hold a press conference at Augusta National at 11am local time on Tuesday (4pm BST) when the five-time Masters champion is set to reveal much more about his fitness and whether or not he still plans to compete.
Tiger’s journey to Masters return
Woods has described his rehabilitation as the toughest of his career, admitting that his initial goal was “just looking forward to getting outside” after being immobile for several months. Woods was initially wheelchair-bound before slowly transitioning to crutches and then walking unaided.
Updates on Woods’ condition were limited for most of 2021 and he was only spotted in public occasionally during his recuperation, wearing a compression sleeve on his right leg, while a three-second clip of him hitting a wedge shot in November sent social media into a frenzy.
Woods admitted to being in pain just sitting down during his press conference ahead of the Hero World Challenge the following week, the first time he had addressed the media since the crash, and he opened up about the “dark moments” and “hard work” during his recovery process.
He insisted that he was not ready to make a return to PGA Tour golf after his PNC Championship performance in December, when he teamed up with son Charlie to post a runner-up finish.
This year’s contest is the 25th anniversary of Woods’ maiden major victory, with his 12-shot victory in 1997 remaining the largest winning margin in the history of The Masters.
Woods claimed a two-shot triumph in 2001, seeing him complete the “Tiger Slam” and become the first to hold all four majors concurrently, and he then successfully defended his title a year later to join Jack Nicklaus and Sir Nick Faldo as the only back-to-back winners.
He recovered from seven strokes off the pace after the opening day in 2005 to beat Chris DiMarco in a play-off for a fourth victory, before waiting another 14 years for further Masters glory. Woods’ success in 2019 came 11 years on from his previous major title as he signalled the end of an injury-plagued few years to register a one-shot victory.