Will Tiger Woods return to the limelight 14 months ago after the serious car accident that almost took him out of the sport? The Augusta Masters, which starts this Thursday, will dispel all doubts.
His fans are crossing their fingers that the American golfer brings out his potential and shines again on the courts, as other top athletes have done after a misfortune (see one by one).
Tiger’s stunning return to Augusta is attracting attention as the star says he’s ready to challenge the many title contenders. “I think I can win,” he said without a doubt Tuesday at Augusta National Golf Club (Georgia), the last place he competed before his accident in February 2021.
If, as expected, he tees off, Woods will culminate perhaps the most unexpected of his epic resurrections and do it again in Augusta, where 25 years ago he ushered in a new era in golf with his first Grand Slam title.
At 46, few expected the Californian to play at the top level again due to the severity of the injuries sustained when he collided with his truck at almost 140 km/h in a suburb of Los Angeles .
With a physique already battered by a dozen knee and back surgeries, Woods had to recover from multiple fractures in his right leg, which had to be stabilized with rods and screws or face amputation.
Slowly but surely the ‘tiger’ walked again after a few months and made progress in his recovery, first playing a family tournament with his son in December, in which he rode around in a golf cart, and shocking the sports world last week when he showed up to train in Augusta.
With ‘Tigermania’ raging and crowds following his training sessions, Woods assures the length of the field (7,510 yards – 6.8 kilometres) and its vertical drops are the biggest challenge for his sixth green jacket, with which he would tie the record for Jack Nicklaus.
“I don’t have to worry about hitting the ball or playing golf, it’s really just the hills. It’s going to be the challenge, the challenge of a big marathon,” described Woods, who always insisted he would never enter a tournament he didn’t believe he could win.
In 2008, he managed to lift the US Open trophy while competing with a stress fracture and torn ligaments in his left knee.
Eleven years and five return operations later, in 2019 he signed one of the great revivals in the history of sport by winning his fifth Masters and his fifteenth Grand Slam title.