Tiger Woods returned to the public eye last week as host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Club in Los Angeles. The event marked one year since the 15-time Major winner was involved in a horrific car accident, leaving him needing surgery on his right leg and foot, followed by an extensive period of rehab. Woods has barely played since, so, naturally, his appearance at the event soon led to questions about when he will return to competitive action. Woods was non-committal about a return date, although he did confirm he’ll return to the PGA Tour at some point.
However, he also didn’t rule out the possibility of playing April’s Masters Par 3 Contest at Augusta National, held on the eve of the main event. When asked if he was considering taking part, Woods responded: “I can do that now. Whether I do or not, I don’t know”. For a press conference that didn’t offer much in the way of revelations, that statement provided a glimmer of hope that Woods’ comeback might not be too far away. After all, he played the PNC Championship alongside son Charlie last December, albeit with the assistance of a golf cart. Not only that, but the pair almost won the event, finishing runner-up to Jon Daly and his son, Jon Daly II.
Of course, there are huge differences between playing tournaments like the two-day PNC Championship or the Masters Par 3 Contest and teeing off at a Major. However, last Saturday, Woods confirmed to Jim Nantz and Sir Nick Faldo that he’d be at Augusta for the annual Champions Dinner. “It’ll be a great dinner. I don’t know what kind of sushi we’re going to have,” said Woods. When asked again about his chances of playing the Par 3 Contest, Woods didn’t rule it out, saying: “I can play that kind of stuff.” However, when Nantz responded with the question: “So, we’ll see you there?” Woods was quick to dampen the speculation, saying: “Hey, Jimmy, slow down, turbo. Slow down.”
Nevertheless, there are encouraging signs that Woods’ injury frustrations may soon be behind him. On Sunday, footage emerged of him walking relatively freely up the 52 steps to the clubhouse at Riviera, leading to speculation that he could be closer to a comeback than he’s letting on.
🚨Here’s a brief video of TW climbing steps last night for those who want take see his improved walking (📸: @GolfBalledcom) pic.twitter.com/mugH0GHMhOFebruary 21, 2022
Close enough for The Masters? That probably still gets filed under “highly doubtful” at this stage. However, with his attendance at Augusta National confirmed and a playing appearance of some kind that week not being ruled out, we’ll have our fingers crossed that the 2019 Masters winner might yet surprise everyone with one of the most eagerly anticipated comebacks of all.
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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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