Less than five days out from the start of the Masters, the golf world is scrambling to answer one of the most absurd questions it has ever faced.
Will Tiger Woods, less than 14 months after almost losing his Shattered leg in a horrific car accident, play?
As of Sunday, Woods’ name remains on the official Masters website as a competitor in this year’s field at Augusta.
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‘LOOKED GOOD TO ME’: Tiger Woods linked to Miracle comeback at next week’s Masters
Five-time Champion Woods is a permanent Qualifier at the Masters, while it is his duty to inform the club each year if he will fill his spot.
That he is yet to confirm either way has sent golf’s rumor mill into overdrive, while Woods himself remains tight-lipped on the matter.
But with every day that goes by without a withdrawal, it becomes more likely that Woods will remarkably compete at this year’s Masters, thus completing one of the sport’s now unlikely comebacks – even by his standards.
That is a potential reality that’s hard to grapple with given what we know about Woods’ situation.
In February 2021, a Woods’ Genesis SUV sped off a Los Angeles road at about 140km / h.
He was Lucky to not lose his life and Escape with “comminuted open fractures” to both the upper and lower parts of his right leg. A bone fracture is “comminuted” when it is broken in multiple places, while “open” would suggest that the bone had pierced through the skin.
There were doubts over whether Woods would ever walk properly again, but major surgeries have proven to be a success beyond belief.
Not only can Woods walk but he can, according to reports, now play a full repertoire of shots that makes playing at the Masters an Astonishing possibility.
Woods hasn’t played on the PGA Tour since November 2020.
He made a public return to golf in December when he shocked everyone by playing alongside his 12-year-old son, Charlie, at the father-son PNC Championship.
Even so, it was only a two-day event, and Woods was able to use a cart.
“I’m just really tired. I’m not used to this. I think this might be my fifth round of golf this year, ”Woods said after the tournament.
“I’m a little worn out, but it was nice to have a cart.”
In recent days, however, it’s become clear that the event acted as a springboard for Woods’ Tilt at making a shock Masters comeback.
Despite saying in February that he was “a long way off” a competitive return, Woods reportedly walked his home course in Florida for several days alongside his caddy Joe LaCava.
In a clear sign that Woods passed those initial Endurance tests, he last week Flew to Augusta where he played 18 holes with his son and Justin Thomas.
“He played every one of them,” the witness told ESPN. “He looked good to me.”
Woods has given no indication about how comfortably they tackled the grueling undulation of Augusta’s Fairways, known to be among the most hilly on the Tour.
Golf Channel Analyst Brandel Chamblee is of the opinion that no news can only be good news.
“The idea of him coming up here to play was to see if they could walk the golf course,” Chamblee told The Dan Patrick Show. “I’m sure that’s sensibly what everyone was thinking about what he was doing here.
“And if he couldn’t do it, he couldn’t compete, and he couldn’t hit the shots, I think he would have withdrawn by now.
“So I think there’s a pretty darn good chance we’re going to see him walking the Fairways by Monday or Tuesday this week.”
Asked if Woods could even be a chance of contending at the year’s first major, Chamblee added: “With him, all bets are off.
“You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it. He has a capacity for Miracles unlike anybody else.
“This one goes right to the ridiculous if he’s able to come back from this and play with any semblance of the game he had to prioritize it.”
Woods has a proven track record of coming back against the odds.
Most recently, he completed a Miracle comeback from spinal Fusion surgery to win the 2019 Masters at 43 years old, and 11 years after his last major.
That last major was the 2008 US Open – a mind-over-matter triumph that’s worth revisiting now.
Woods won the major over Rocco Mediate is one leg having suffered two stress fractures and a tower ACL.
“For Tiger – if it’s just about pain, he’ll play,” Golf Digest’s Dan Rapaport says. “Won the US Open is a broken leg.
“The question is whether the range of motion / pushing off is affected, and if there’s a risk of further injury. If it’s just a matter of gritting your teeth, gotta think he’ll play. ”
He latter added: “I have reached the point where I would be surprised if Tiger Woods does not play in the Masters.”
Woods is likely to confirm his playing status in the coming hours with preparations set to ramp up from Monday.
His decision likely hinges on how well he pulled up from walking 18 holes at Augusta, and whether he feels its possible to achieve on at least four consecutive days.