After much speculation, Tiger Woods has confirmed that he’s making a sensational comeback from injury at The Masters, but at least some of the reason he’s able to compete this year is down to his footwear.
There had been mystery surrounding Woods’ choice of shoes when he arrived at Augusta National on Sunday for a practice round. Eagle-eyed social media users spotted that the five-time Masters winner was wearing FootJoy Premiere Series Packard shoes rather than his usual Nike shoes. This was followed the next day by Woods seen wearing the same type of shoes, albeit in a different colour, again – a surprise given that he’d been with Nike for over 25 years.
Nike then released a statement on the matter, which read: “Like golf fans around the world, we are delighted to see Tiger back on the course. He is an incredible athlete, and it is phenomenal to see him returning to the game at this level. His story continues to transcend sport and inspire us all. As he continues his return, we will work with him to meet his new needs.”
Now Woods, who will make his first competitive appearance since shattering the tibia and fibula bones in his right leg in a horrific car accident 14 months ago, has cleared up the confusion, explaining it’s to do with his reduced mobility. He said: “I have very limited mobility now. Just with the rods and plates and screws that are in my leg, I needed something different, something that allowed me to be more stable. That's what I've gone to.”
Woods also confirmed that far from ending his relationship with Nike, he is working alongside the company to find a more permanent solution to the problem. He continued: “Nike's been fantastic over the years of providing me with equipment and work, and we have worked, we've been working on trying to find something to allow me to do this and swing again. We're still going to continue doing it, and hopefully we'll have something soon.”
Woods hasn’t played competitively in a tournament since the accident in February last year, and even as recently as this February, he admitted that he still needed a golf cart to play. He said: “I can still play, but I’m in a cart. Being a weekend warrior is easy, that’s not that hard. Hit your ball, hop in a cart, ride, barely step out of the cart, grab your club and hit the next one. The longest walk you have is probably from, what, the cart to the green and back. I can do that, that’s not that hard, but walking a golf course, that’s a totally different deal.”
With the assistance of his new shoes, the golf world holds its breath in anticipation of the welcome sight of Woods not only competing in this year’s Masters, but completing it unassisted.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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