Woods: ‘ I will be at Au­gusta, ei­ther way’

Chicago Sun-Times - - GOLF - Steve DiMeglio @ steve_ dimeglio USA TO­DAY Sports

Tiger Woods will at­tend the Cham­pi­ons Din­ner the Tues­day night of Mas­ters week. Tee­ing it up two days later is still on the ta­ble.

The four- time win­ner of the Mas­ters said Mon­day dur­ing a tour to pro­mote his book The 1997 Mas­ters: My Story that his trou­ble­some back is feel­ing bet­ter and he is work­ing hard to get ready to play in the first ma­jor cham­pi­onship. Woods didn’t play the Mas­ters in 2014 and 2016 and tied for 17th in 2015.

“I do have a chance” to play, Woods told USA TO­DAY Sports in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view. “I’mtry­ing ev­ery­thing I pos­si­bly can to get to that point. I’m work­ing on my game. I just need to get to a point where I feel like I’m good enough and I’mhealthy enough to do it. ... I’ve been a part of so manyMasters over the course of my ca­reer, I know ex­actly what it takes to get ready for that event. Now it’s my job to go out there and get ready. I hope I can.”

Woods said he has been prac­tic­ing but not play­ing rounds of golf.

“It’s build­ing, but I still have a lit­tle ways to go,” said Woods, who has un­til Thurs­day of the Mas­ters first round to de­cide if he can play.

Woods last played in Fe­bru­ary in the Omega Dubai Desert Clas­sic, where he opened with a 77 and then with­drew be­cause of back spasms. Woods with­drew from the Ge­n­e­sis Open and the Honda Clas­sic and did not play in last week’s Arnold Palmer In­vi­ta­tional, which he has won a record eight times.

De­spite not play­ing re­cently, one ad­van­tage Woods does have is his knowl­edge of Au­gusta Na­tional. “Be­cause I know how to pre­pare for it, and I know the golf course, I know where to miss it, I know where to play from, I know where the ad­van­tages are,” he said. “It’s al­most like cram­ming for a fi­nal. I know the golf course, I know the sub­ject, I know the ma­te­rial, now I just need to go out there and do it. That makes a big dif­fer­ence, whether or not I would come back and play a U. S. Open or a Bri­tish Open or a PGA. It’s so much eas­ier com­ing back for this par­tic­u­lar event be­cause I know the golf course.”

Woods said if he can’t play the Mas­ters he re­mains com­mit­ted to re­turn­ing to com­pet­i­tive golf.

“Ab­so­lutely,” he said. “I will be at Au­gusta, ei­ther way.”


TigerWoods hasn’t played since Fe­bru­ary in the Omega Dubai Desert Clas­sic, where he opened with a 77 and then with­drew with back spasms.

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