One year after withdrawing before the end of the third round of the Masters, Tiger Woods is back at his favourite golf course and his favourite tournament, ready to give it another go.

The five-time Masters winner, now 48, on Tuesday restated what he has said for years amid multiple challenges to his physical fitness: He would not be competing if he didn’t think he could win.

“If everything comes together, I think I can get one more,” Woods said with a grin. “Do I need to describe that any more than that, or are we good?”

Two years ago, Woods made his return to competitive golf at the Masters less than 14 months after a single-car accident nearly cost him his right leg. He made the cut at Augusta National before finishing 47th.

ALSO READ: Shubhankar is peaking at right time, can win gold at Paris Olympics: coach Jesse Grewal

Woods has said that his goal going forward is to play a handful of events a year, possibly once a month, but that has been a challenge. After making the cut at the 2023 Masters, the third round was suspended due to rain and he withdrew rather than returning Sunday, citing plantar fasciitis.

That led to ankle surgery later that month. Woods came back to play two unofficial events in December, but when he attempted to play in the signature event hosted by his foundation, February’s Genesis Invitational, he withdrew early in his second round due to flu-like symptoms.

“I wasn’t ready to play. My body wasn’t ready,” Woods said in response to a question about the Genesis. “My game wasn’t ready. And I thought that when I was at (the Hero World Challenge), once a month would be a really nice rhythm. Hasn’t worked out that way.

“But now we have major championships every month from here through July. So now the once-a-month hopefully kicks in.”

Woods clarified that his left ankle no longer hurts — “It’s fused, it’s not going anywhere” — but other parts of his body like his knee and back take on more of the load when he tries to walk 72 holes.

There was concern when Woods’ friend and NBC Sports commentator Notah Begay III told reporters last week that Woods had “zero mobility” in his left ankle.

“As far as my physicality on certain shots, every shot that’s not on a tee box is a challenge,” Woods said Tuesday, again smiling. “So, yeah, once we start the hole, it’s a bit of a challenge.”

Woods has made 23 consecutive cuts at the Masters, and he can break a tie with Fred Couples and Gary Player for the most all-time if he reaches the weekend this year.

“I think it’s consistency, it’s longevity, and it’s an understanding of how to play this golf course,” Woods said of finding success at Augusta National. “That’s one of the reasons why you see players that are in their 50s and 60s make cuts here, or it’s players in their late 40s have runs at winning the event, just the understanding of how to play it.

“Now, you still have to go out and execute it, but there’s a lot of knowledge that goes into understanding how to play it.”

Aches and pains aside, Woods will tee off with Max Homa and Australian Jason Day at 1:24 p.m. ET Thursday as he guns for his sixth Masters title and his second since 2019.

“I just love doing the work,” Woods said. “I love logging the time in, and I love preparing. I love competing, and I love that feeling when everything’s on fire with a chance to win and you either you do or you don’t.”

source