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Gary Koch, former PGA Tour player turned Golf Channel analyst and commentator, believes there's a "good chance" Tiger Woods will tee it up at The Masters this year, after receiving word from Jim 'Bones' Mackay about the state of the 15-time Major champion's game.
The golfing world was put on alert when it was revealed Woods had jetted into the Augusta area on Tuesday for a sly practice round as he gauged whether his body would be able to cope with the demands of the famous layout ahead of the first men's Major of the year.
It is understood that Woods played alongside his son Charlie and close family friend Justin Thomas, and according to Koch, JT's caddie Bones was impressed with what he saw.
Speaking on the JP Peterson show, Koch said: "I texted with Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay and he said he was impressed by Tiger’s practice round at Augusta. So, I think there’s a good chance he plays."
This latest endorsement comes on the back of comments from Golf Channel's Rex Hoggard, who has heard from multiple sources in South Florida where Woods is based that the game of the five-time Masters champ is "all there, it's all back."
The 46-year-old hasn't played competitively since the coronavirus-delayed 2020 Masters, having undergone a fifth back operation in December 2020, before being involved in the horrific car crash that almost cost him his right leg.
True to form, he defied expectations with a return to action in December's parent-child PNC Championship as he and Charlie set a new consecutive-birdie record in round two en route to a runner-up finish. In the aftermath, he was keen to reiterate that he would "never play a full schedule again" and that "it was going to take a lot of work to get to where I feel like I can compete at a high level."
The big question now is whether he feels he can compete against the current cream of the crop at Augusta National. And one man who has full confidence is his former coach Hank Haney, who was part of the backroom team when Tiger defied a fractured leg to win the 2008 US Open. "If Tiger can walk, he can win," Haney said.
VIDEO: THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT TIGER WOODS
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
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