‘Everything’s good’ as Tiger Woods prepares for the Masters
“He looks the exact same,” Fred Couples said when asked to compare Woods’ present state with how he looked back in 2018 and 2019 during a practice round at Augusta National.
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Under a bruised sky with mist in the air, Tiger Woods completed his Masters Boot Camp on Wednesday morning with another nine holes at Augusta National Golf Club.
“Everything’s good, brother,” Woods said as he walked into the clubhouse following his round on the back nine and 20 minutes’ worth of work on the practice putting green.
Everything’s looked fine since the five-time Masters champion started his march to the 86th Masters. There haven’t been any missteps or mishaps since he arrived at Augusta National on Sunday and played the back nine by himself.
Then he was joined by Fred Couples and Justin Thomas for nine holes on the front nine on Monday, and the three again hooked up for Wednesday’s tour from the 10th tee through the 18th green.
Counting last Tuesday’s 27 holes — he played the big course and the par-3 course with his son, Charlie, and Thomas — he’s put in 54 holes at Augusta National. And this comes on the heels of simulating a 72-hole tournament by walking and playing 18 holes four consecutive days at The Medalist near his home in Jupiter Island, Florida.
Starting a little before 8 a.m. local time on the eve of the Masters, Woods again looked solid with driver in hand and hit every fairway in regulation. He did spin his tee shot back into the pond on 12, got home in two on the par-5 13th, came up just short in two on the par-5 15th. After finding the middle of the green on 16, he failed to skip his ball across the pond on 16.
So, come Thursday, 508 days after playing in his last official tournament — a tie for 38th in the November 2020 Masters — Woods will head to the first tee for his 10:34 tee time with Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann.
“He looks the exact same,” Couples said when asked to compare Woods’ present state with how he looked back in 2018 and 2019 during a practice round at Augusta National. “He stood over the ball and said, ‘Watch this.’ And he drew it around the corner on 13. He looks the exact same to me.
“It’s a miraculous thing. Fourteen months ago I was bawling like a baby every day. And now he looks strong. I know the leg is hurt but he’s driving it with JT. He’s hitting it plenty far enough to play this course. He knows what to do.”
It was 14 months ago that Woods survived a single-car accident north of Los Angeles. On Feb. 23, Woods was traveling above 80 mph when his luxury Genesis GV80 SUV hit a center median and then a tree and rolled over several times. The SUV was left in pieces and Woods’ right leg and foot was shattered.
After being bed-ridden for four months, he built back his leg and then his game.
On Tuesday during his meeting with the media, he talked of how excited he was that all the treatment he was getting was working. He also said if he can get around this hilly course with few level areas for 72 holes, he can win.
Couples won’t dispute that.
“Tiger is Tiger,” he said. “He’s ready to contend. He’s ready to roll.”
And Thomas said Woods’ game is “plenty, plenty good enough to play well.”
“Nobody has a work ethic and determination like him,” Thomas said. “I’ve never seen anything like it in terms of setting your mind to something and kind of setting a goal for yourself and proving to yourself and everybody that you can do it than him. The days and weeks and months that he couldn’t do anything and do the same thing every single day but would look at it as an opportunity to get better and get stronger and get 1 percent better that day.
“He’s been through that type of process before. He unfortunately knows better than others, but it’s still unbelievable the stuff that he can do given everything.”
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