Tiger Woods says he’s taking a shot at winning his sixth Masters this week at Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club, 14 months after severely injuring his right leg in a car accident.
“As of right now, I feel like I am going to play, as of right now,” Woods said during a news conference Tuesday ESPN reports. “I’m going to play nine more holes [Wednesday]. My recovery has been good. I’ve been very excited about how I’ve recovered each and every day, and that’s been the challenge.”
If Woods wins a sixth Masters it will tie him with golf legend Jack Nicklaus.
Asked if he believes he believes he can do it, Woods replied, “I do.”
Last week, Woods announced that he would be practicing at Augusta ahead of the Masters but had said that whether or not he joined the tournament would be a “game-time decision.”
“I can hit it just fine,” Woods continued Tuesday. “I don’t have any qualms about what I can do physically from a golf standpoint. It’s now walking is the hard part. This is normally not an easy walk to begin with.” Referring to the auto accident, he said, “Now given the conditions that my leg is in, it gets even more difficult. 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.”
As for his drive to win, Tiger doubled down:
“I love competing, and I feel like if I can still compete at the highest level, I’m going to, and if I feel like I can still win, I’m going to play,” Woods said at the conference. “But if I feel like I can’t, then you won’t see me out here. You guys know me better than that.
“I don’t show up to an event unless I think I can win it. So that’s the attitude I’ve had. There will be a day when it won’t happen, and I’ll know when that is, but physically the challenge this week is I don’t have to worry about the ballstriking or the game of golf, it’s actually just the hills out here. That’s going to be the challenge, and it’s going to be a challenge of a major marathon.”
Woods hasn’t played a competitive tournament in 17 months. And since his car crash, his right leg is held together with “stabilizing rods and screws,” reports the Washington Post. The crash had him hospitalized for three months.
Woods’ said he made the decision to pay in the big game after a practice round last week with his son, Charlie, as well as friend Justin Thomas.
Woods will tee off at 10:34 a.m. ET on Thursday alongside South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.