A bullish Tiger Woods declared himself “right where I need to be” after marking his remarkable recovery from serious injury with a one-under-par round of 71 at the Masters.
Woods, having not played competitive golf since November 2020 and 14 months on from a serious car crash that left him fearing his lower right leg may need to be amputated, commanded huge gallery support on day one at Augusta National. The crowds were left impressed: Woods made three birdies and two bogeys to sit just four shots from the lead. He has victory in his sights.
“I was able to finish up in the red,” said Woods. “I am right where I need to be. The place was electric. I had a terrible warmup session. I hit it awful. I went back to what my dad always said. ‘Did you accomplish your task in the warmup? It’s a warmup. Did you warm up?’ Yes, I did. ‘Now go play.’ That’s exactly what I did, I went and played.
“I forgot whatever I did on the range and just went ahead and played; shot for shot, hit the ball in the correct spot, committed to what I’m doing, left myself in the right angles, hopefully make a few putts, and let’s get after this thing. Yeah, I was able to do that.”
Woods, a five-time Masters champion, admitted it felt like a win of sorts even to be competing here. He explained “lots of ice baths” would be required before he tees off in round two on Friday afternoon.
“If you would have seen how my leg looked to where it’s at now,” added the 46-year-old. “Some of the guys [fellow players] know. They’ve seen the pictures and they’ve come over to the house and they’ve seen it. To see where I’ve been, to get from there to here, it was no easy task.
“I can swing a golf club. The walking’s not easy, it’s difficult. It’s going to be difficult for the rest of my life. That’s just the way it is but I’m able to do it. People have no idea how hard it’s been. My team does. They’ve worked with me every single day. We haven’t taken a day off since I got out of the bed after three months [post-accident]. So it’s commitment to getting back and commitment to getting back to a level that I feel that I can still do it. I did something positive today.”