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For Tiger Woods, a Masters stroll not like some other awaits | Sports



AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Tiger Woods’ 91st aggressive spherical on the Masters will begin like all the remaining.

Shortly after 11 a.m. on Thursday, the five-time champion will stick his tee into the bottom at Tea Olive, the title of the primary gap at Augusta National, take a few follow swings and proceed a well-known stroll that started over a quarter-century in the past.

It’s what occurs when Woods stuffs his driver again into his bag that may decide whether or not his surgically rebuilt proper leg — or the remainder of the 46-year-old Hall of Famer for that matter — is prepared for a take a look at not like some other he is confronted in his profession.

The five-mile or so stroll between the Georgia pines at Augusta National is 11,000-plus steps of up and down and up once more. It requires hitting pictures from uneven lies. Of digging into the pine straw when required. Of attempting to peek over bunkers that may run so deep — because it does on the par-3 fourth gap — it is advisable to bounce if you are going to see the flag.

No one apart from Jack Nicklaus has navigated the sprawling course in addition to Woods. No lively participant is as well-versed within the contours of each inch of completely manicured Bermuda grass.

That’s why Woods wasn’t complaining when he stated on Tuesday “walking is the hard part.” He’s merely stating a reality. And he is hardly the one one who is aware of how bodily draining competing within the Masters might be.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange used to depart the event with shin splints. And Strange did not must do it whereas working with a leg filled with rods and plates.

“You know, 72 holes is a long road, and it’s going to be a tough challenge and a challenge that I’m up for,” Woods stated.

At least in idea. He hasn’t performed 18 holes at Augusta National on consecutive days since shredding h is leg in a automotive accident in February 2021 that led medical doctors to think about amputation. Now he is asking the identical leg that anchored 15 main championships and a PGA Tour record-tying 82 victories to carry up for 4 rounds within the span of 81 or so hours.

That would not even embody the warm-up or restoration, routines that require much more time than they did when he fist-pumped his technique to his first inexperienced jacket 25 years in the past.

It’s asking lots. Yes, it is simply strolling. Only it is no extraordinary stroll. And it is no extraordinary week. For Woods or anybody else.

“I think most of the stress that we have is probably more mental than physical,” stated world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who at 25 was born lower than a 12 months earlier than Woods captured his first Masters title.

The stress is now not between Woods’ ears, however beneath his ft. The elevation adjustments are practically fixed out of your opening shot. Down the hill to the primary fairway, then again up towards the inexperienced. Down a hill once more at No. 2. Rolling terrain on No. 3. An elevated tee at No. 4. Uphill practically all the best way at No. 7. Ditto No. 8. A climb to the flip at No. 9.

The again 9 is a jumble. The tenth fairway may double as a ski slope. Another trek down the eleventh into Amen Corner. The twelfth and thirteenth provide a little bit of a respite. Mounds and a slanted fairway on the 14th, the place a flat lie is mainly a delusion. A mild downhill to the fifteenth inexperienced. The sixteenth supplies a respite, earlier than the seventeenth tee begins one final climb again to the clubhouse.

Woods admits his mobility is so restricted he ditched Nike cleats for FootJoys as a result of it offered extra consolation. He’s hoping the jolt of adrenaline fueled by the primary capability crowd to come back to Augusta since his titanic victory in 2019 will assist him get by.

Still, golf is golf. Throw within the crucible that’s the Masters and Woods is aware of adversity is unavoidable. He careworn he would not come again simply to be a discipline filler. That’s merely not his manner. He’s not going to ask his leg to easily assist him get round, however to face on the 18th inexperienced late Sunday afternoon and have Hideki Matsuyama drape a sixth inexperienced jacket over his shoulders.

It sounds unattainable. It very nicely could also be unattainable.

“When I decide to hang it up when I feel like I can’t win anymore, then that will be it,” he stated. “But I feel like I can still do it, and I feel like I still have the hands to do it, the body’s moving good enough. I’ve been in worse situations and played and won tournaments.”

Yes and no. He received the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines mainly on one leg. Yet he was simply 32 then. He’s nearer to 60 now than that good Father’s Day weekend within the solar again house in California.

The spirit stays keen. It has for the reason that first time he ducked contained in the ropes at Augusta as an beginner in 1995.

It’s the remainder of him, notably the fitting ankle that should bear the load of a lot — together with inner and exterior expectations that come when your title occurs to be Tiger Woods — that may decide whether or not this lengthy stroll might be spoiled.

“I don’t have to worry about the ball striking or the game of golf, it’s actually just the hills out here,” he stated. “That’s going to be the challenge, and it’s going to be a challenge of a major marathon.”

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