Tiger Woods practises at Augusta National for second day running before Masters
Tiger Woods practised at Augusta National for the second day running as he stepped up his preparations for the 86th Masters on Monday.
Woods has not played in a top-level event since being involved in a horrific car crash in February 2021.
The 15-time major winner, who feared shortly after the accident that his right leg would have to be amputated, competed in the PNC Championship with son Charlie in December.
The 46-year-old played a practice round at Augusta last week and nine holes on Sunday, before which he said he would make a “game-time decision” on whether he will tee off in Thursday’s first round.
Woods began his warm-up on the putting green before heading to the short game area and then to the range itself, where he hit balls before heading to the course.
Earlier in the day, one player who can empathise with what Woods has been through had taken the same route, two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal.
Olazabal first triumphed at Augusta National in 1994 but later that year was struck down by a debilitating ailment in the joints of his feet which left him in so much pain that he had to crawl to the bathroom.
Sidelined for 18 months, Olazabal feared he might need a wheelchair for the rest of his life until German doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt concluded that the pain was coming from his back, not his foot.
Olazabal returned to action in 1997 and won an emotional second Masters title two years later, so the 56-year-old is delighted that Woods appears increasingly likely to join him in the field this week.
“In a way I know what he’s been going through,” Olazabal told the PA news agency ahead of a practice round at Augusta National.
“When you cannot walk, when you cannot do things and you’re full of pain everywhere I relate to him in a way and that’s why I really appreciate him being here.
“Not just for us and the crowds, but for him. I would love to see him be able to be competitive again and play great golf.
“I saw him as he was walking towards the 10th tee and I have to say I was really pleased for him and it’s going to be great for the game of golf if he comes back.
“He’s a great asset, he’s a unique player, he has overcome tough situations and hopefully he will do so this time. (He has) a very strong mindset, a special one. No questions about that.
“I don’t think there are many golf courses as challenging as this one when we’re talking about changes of elevation, walking. There is a lot of ups and downs and it’s a real test. If he’s able to accomplish that this week that would be the best sign.”
Olazabal remarkably made the cut in last year’s Masters at the age of 55, but concedes his recent form, an elbow problem and the addition of more length to the course makes his chances of a repeat this week somewhat unlikely.
“It’s nice to be back at a very special place, but especially this year with full crowds and the proper atmosphere,” the former Ryder Cup captain added.
“I haven’t been able to practise all that much so the game is a little bit off at the moment. I will suffer on the golf course, but I have wonderful memories.”
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Lucas Glover edges past Patrick Cantlay to claim back-to-back Tour wins
Glover, 43, ultimately claimed victory with a par on the 18th hole playoff after Cantlay found water off the tee.
Lilia Vu wins second major as Charley Hull comes up short despite stunning eagle
American Vu added the Women’s Open title to her Chevron Championship.
Lucas Glover holds onto lead in Memphis with Tommy Fleetwood two strokes behind
Glover said it was a scrappy day but he got ‘a lot out of’ what he had.
Charley Hull shares lead with Lilia Vu heading into final day of Women’s Open
The pair are nine under for the tournament.
On This Day in 2007 – Tiger Woods claims 13th major with victory in Oklahoma
The world number one successfully defended his US PGA Championship title.
Ally Ewing out to emulate Brian Harman with Open win
The pair share their southern roots, passion for hunting and college teams named the Bulldogs.
Ally Ewing storms clear during second round of AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath
At 10 under par Ewing enjoyed a five-shot lead over compatriot Andrea Lee and Japan’s Minami Katsu.
Jordan Spieth leads by one after first round of FedEx St Jude Championship
England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Aaron Rai are the best of the British contingent, closing out Thursday on four under par.
Rory McIlroy delighted with Tiger Woods’ role on PGA Tour’s policy board
Woods, 47, has not played since withdrawing from April’s Masters and concedes his playing opportunities will be extremely limited going forward.