Tiger Woods elected to skip the Players Championship, the flagship event on the PGA Tour, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t tee it up last week.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig, Woods traveled to Augusta, Georgia, and played the home of the Masters on Thursday, the day of the first round of the Players in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Woods never issued a statement on why he didn’t play last week, but an Augusta National practice round just weeks before the tournament is an encouraging sign that he intends to be in the field at the season’s first major at one of his favorite hunting grounds.
It’s not uncommon for Masters contestants to visit Augusta National in the weeks leading up to the tournament being contested in April. This year, players will be interested in seeing the new tee at the par-5 13th hole, which has stretched the risk-reward gambit to 545 yards.
Woods is a five-time Masters champion, who won the tournament most recently in 2019 for his 15th career major title. Last year, he played a practice round a week before the tournament alongside his son, Charlie.
Rory McIlroy confirmed he would be making a reconnaissance trip this week, and reportedly played there Monday as did reigning champ Scottie Scheffler.
Last year, Woods surprised the golf world when he not only was a late addition to the Masters but made the cut in his first start since being sidelined with a slew of injuries sustained in a single-car accident in February 2021. (He previously had played in December 2021 in a two-person scramble at the PNC Championship, where he was allowed to use a cart.) Woods tired on the weekend at Augusta, arguably the toughest walk on the PGA Tour, shooting a pair of 78s and fading to a T-47 finish.
Woods was able to play in three of the four majors last season, skipping the U.S. Open. He continues to struggle with injuries to his right leg, ankle and foot, which have required multiple surgeries. He last played at the Genesis Invitational in February, where as tournament host he managed to make the cut.
“Hopefully this year I can get all four and maybe sprinkle in a few here and there. But that’s it for the rest of my career,” Woods said after finishing T-44. “I know that and I understand. That’s just my reality.”
The 87th Masters begins April 6.