Tiger Woods, with no prior-week commitment required, may either show up or not for the start of the Masters next Thursday. With a Golfweek report claiming he scuffled to a 74 during a Tuesday practice round at Augusta National, Woods may milk his Hamlet moment until the 11th hour.
The golf world has been waiting to learn if Woods will play or not play since he went on an indefinite hiatus from competition in February after his suddenly suspect short game led to a career-worst 82 and missed cut in Phoenix and an early withdrawal at Torrey Pines.
With the men’s first major of the season on tap, it would seem likely that the four-time winner of the green jacket would make his intentions known prior to the kickoff of Masters week. As Geoff Shackelford noted, a news dump on Good Friday, when the attention of many is shifted away from Tiger News Central, would appear in the offing.
But one never knows with the increasingly reclusive Woods, who let his agent confirm that practice round after his plane was spotted at the Augusta airport, but who has since resumed radio silence. That could be because a source told Golfweek that Tiger teed it up with two members and made five birdies but hit several “indifferent” chip shots. He reportedly mishit one across a green and into a bunker.
Woods’ last competitive start came February 5 at the Farmers Insurance Open, which he withdrew from after 11 holes of his opening round. While he cited back pain for his Torrey WD, Woods announced on February 11 that he would not return to competition until he deemed his game tournament-ready.
In announcing he would skip the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the second straight year, Woods said he hoped to be ready for the Masters, which he missed for the first time in his professional career in 2014. One way or another, we’ll know whether Tiger is Augusta-worthy by next Thursday, if not sooner.