Rory: ‘Phenomenal’ if Tiger opts to play Masters

Rory: 'Phenomenal' if Tiger opts to play Masters thumbnail

12: 58 PM ET

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    Mark SchlabachESPN Senior Writer

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    • Senior college football writer
    • Author of seven books on college football
    • Graduate of the University of Georgia

As Tiger Woods decides whether to play in next week’s Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, one of his competitors said it would be phenomenal to have the 15-time major champion in the field.

“I think for golf and for the Masters tournament and for everyone, to have Tiger there would be phenomenal,” Rory McIlroy told reporters in San Antonio, where he’s competing in this week’s Valero Texas Open. “I think it just adds value to the event. It does. Everything Tiger Woods does in golf is magnified when he’s there. It would be amazing for him to be there. “

McIlroy, a four-time major champion, was at Augusta National on Tuesday, when Woods played 18 holes with his son, Charlie, and PGA Tour pro Justin Thomas, his close friend.

“He was there [on Tuesday], clearly, and he is trying to see if he can do it,” McIlroy stated. “Obviously, no one knows him better than he does if he can turn it around and if his belief is that he can compete. “

Woods hasn’t played in an official PGA Tour event in 500 days, since he last played in the final round of the 2020 Masters, which was held in November that year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He finished in a tie for 38th after shooting 4-over 76 in the final round.

Woods, a five-time Masters champion, is listed among the expected 91 participants for next week’s Masters, the first major championship of the season. He has not yet confirmed that he will be playing. It is the 25th anniversary of his first Masters victory in 1997.

This isn’t the first time Woods tried to return to Augusta National following a long layoff. After multiple knee and back surgeries, Woods won the 2019 Masters, his first major championship in 11 years.

If he can play next week, it will be even more impressive. Woods suffered serious injuries to his right leg and right foot in a car wreck on Feb. 23, 2021. Woods was driving an SUV, which crossed over two lanes and struck a curb, causing it to fall on a hill in Rolling Hills Estates. Officers found him still in the SUV, even though he was wearing a seatbelt.

Woods received an ambulance to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He had open fractures in his right leg’s fibula and tibia. In November, he told reporters at the Hero World Challenge in Bahamas that doctors almost had to amputate his right foot.

“I’ve said this so many times, but from basically March of 2017, fast forward two years and he wins the Masters, and where he was with his body and what he had to do to get back to being somewhat healthy,” McIlroy said. “And it’s more than being somewhat healthy. It’s also what he must do before and after the round to be ready to play golf. In December, Woods participated in the unofficial PNC Championship alongside Charlie. The 36-hole event was a scramble, and he was allowed to use a golf cart, but he did do some walking.

” “The sheer will and perseverance… it’s incredible,” McIlroy stated. McIlroy said that he will return from this again because he likes proving people wrong. He’s a great addition to the game, no matter when it is — next week, a few weeks or a few months later. The game of golf is more enjoyable when he plays well than when he doesn’t. “

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