In what could be one of the most spectacular and eagerly-anticipated returns in the sport of golf, Tiger Woods has confirmed that he intends to play in the 86th Masters Tournament starting Thursday.
Furthermore, he feels like he could even win it.
Prior to last night’s Japanese-themed Champions Dinner, hosted by last year’s winner Hideki Matsuyama, Woods addressed the gathered press who were desperate to hear whether he intended to return to competitive action.
When asked the question, Woods responded calmly.
“Well, as of right now, I feel like I am going to play.”
It was the answer fans, players and no doubt family members wanted to hear.
Tiger Woods will be back on a golf course and competing once again against his peers and not only that, he feels he can win the tournament.
When another reporter asked a question about Woods not entering a tournament unless he feels he can win it and whether Woods felt like he could win another Green Jacket this week, Woods response was unequivocal.
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Odds Start To Fall
In response to that, there was a little movement on the outright winner market for The Masters, with Woods odds starting to move in from the +6000 he was earlier in the week to +5000 which is on offer with PointsBet Sportsbook as of today.
If Woods makes a good start in the tournament, then you can expect those odds to tumble markedly.
With today’s Par 3 Championship serving as the traditional prelude to the tournament starting tomorrow, when Tom Watson will join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player in hitting the ceremonial opening tee shots, it is going to be interesting to see whether Woods and his son Charley play in the event.
Charley was in attendance when Woods played Augusta last week alongside his friend Justin Thomas. The trio played 27 holes, including the full 18 at Augusta, plus the par 3 course.
Woods has also completed practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday and plans to fit in another nine holes today.
With the likes of Thomas, Fred Couples and others all stating that Tiger looked incredibly sharp in his practice rounds, fans are thrilled to see Woods back on the fairways at Augusta and which two players will be drawn with him in that first round.
Woods Augusta Legacy
Woods legacy at Augusta is already assured. Only Jack Nicklaus has won the Green Jacket more than him with six and both Nicklaus and Woods are the only players to have won the title in three different decades.
Woods’ 12 stroke victory over Tom Kite in 1997 remains the largest ever margin of victory in the tournament and that win also saw Woods become the youngest ever Master’s Champion aged 21 years and 104 days old.
However, of all his victories at Augusta, it was his unexpected triumph in 2019 that probably meant the most to the player.
Woods went into the final round in 2019 two shots behind the leader Francesco Molinari but by the 11th hole, Woods was tied for the lead, with Xander Schauffele, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka all also very much in contention.
After a birdie at 16 and a par at 17, Woods needed just a bogey to land an unlikely win after a comeback from back issues, and a bogey was duly the score he posted to win by one shot.
However, for me, the greatest moment at Augusta for Woods for me came in 2005, when he landed an incredibly difficult pitch shot at the 16th for a birdie which, for me, remains the best golf shot I have ever seen.
That birdie helped him force a playoff and ensured that he landed his fourth Green Jacket with victory in the playoff over Chris DiMarco.
Things are generally more exciting when a Tiger is involved and this year’s Masters will be no exception.