Tiger Woods' golf game is said to be "all back" according to the Golf Channel's senior writer, Rex Hoggard, as the excitement levels continue to build ahead of a potential return at Augusta National for the 15-time Major winner.
The talk of the competitive return of Tiger has dominated the world of golf recently and, appearing on Golf Central's podcast, Hoggard seemed to tease the return even more, stating that: “What I’ve heard from people in South Florida - the actual game itself; ball speed, club head speed, it’s all there, it’s all back.”
On Tuesday, golf fans around the world were treated to a possible glimpse to what could lie ahead, with Twitter losing its mind as the 15-time Major champion was spotted flying into Augusta Regional Airport, before playing a practice round at the stunning Augusta National, host venue of the Masters.
Many names in the golfing world have been trying to secure nuggets of information on the 46-year-olds return. On Sunday for example, 'The Fried Egg' released a tweet which said: "Have heard from multiple people in South Florida that Tiger Woods has been out walking Medalist multiple times this week. Joey (his caddie) was also in town to walk."
🚨#NEW: “What I’ve heard from people in South Florida - the actual game itself; ball speed, club head speed, it’s all there, it’s all back.” — @RexHoggardGC today on Golf Central podcast.March 30, 2022
Back in February, Tiger revealed that he has “seen progress," adding: "I’m a lot stronger than I was then, I’m able to hit more shots. But as I was alluding to at the PNC, I was in a cart. I can play weekend warrior golf, that’s easy. But to be able to be out here and play call it six rounds of golf, a practice round, pro-am, four competitive days, it’s the cumulative effect of all that. I’m not able to do that yet. I’m still working on getting to that point.”
The 15-time Major champion then went on to state that his golf activities had stepped up since his runner-up finish with Charlie at the PNC Championship, but only to a point: “Short game-wise, yes, I can. Long game-wise, no, because that involves more loading, more torquing of the leg, and as I said, walking is something I’m still working on."
Six-weeks after that statement though and Woods appears to have recovered rather well. Playing a practice round with Justin Thomas and Charlie at Augusta National, one source on the ground gave a positive account to ESPN, stating: "He played every one of them (18 holes). He looked good to me."
After Tiger flew back home to Florida on Wednesday, the question remains on if he can survive the walk around the undulating layout of Augusta National. At the PNC Championship back in December, we saw some classy shots from the 15-time Major winner, but all lies with the right leg that he injured in the crash back in February 2021.
Tiger's former coach, Hank Haney, who coached the 46-year-old for six years during 2004 - 2010, claiming six Majors in that period, believes that: "If Tiger can walk, he can win," whilst Rory McIlroy stated at the Valero Texas Open: “I think for golf and for the Masters tournament and for everyone, to have Tiger there would be phenomenal."
The four-time Major winner went on to add: "I think it just adds to the event. Obviously, it does. Anything Tiger Woods does in the game of golf is heightened whenever he's there. I mean, it would be awesome for him to be there. You know, he was there yesterday, obviously, and he's trying to see what he can do. Obviously, no one knows but him if he can make it around and think, you know, if he believes he can compete.”
VIDEO: THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT TIGER WOODS
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Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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