“Masters-1st Day-Some Day’
Augusta was beautiful. The weather was spectacular. The gallery was electric.
And then Tiger Woods showed up and stole virtually every storyline that was out there before they teed off.
All you needed to do was see the gallery standing 5-deep when he was on the driving range. Even more when he was on the putting green.
And then he played. Long off the tee…decent with the putter…and he was able to walk all 18-holes..nearly 4-miles.
All this from a man who was carried out of a wrecked SUV some fourteen months ago with a shattered foot and ankle.
It’s too early to say he has reinvented himself. Too early to say he game won’t dissolve in rounds 2-3-4 when the course dries out, the greens get tougher, or his body waves a white flag unable to hold up walking 18.
But for the man who self destructed with his womanizing; for the golfer whose career was shattered by all those knee and back operations, this comeback may be even more spectacular.
Lots of golf to be played, but all anyone wants to talk about is Tiger Woods.
Below a a 1st round account of Tiger taking on the Masters from the New York Times:
Follow our live coverage of Tiger Woods’s return to the Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods’s final day of preparation for the 2022 Masters was typical of the laid-back vibe on the eve of the tournament, when the goal is to play a little golf, but not too much — just enough to stay loose for Thursday’s first round.
With that in mind, Woods played nine holes with his preferred practice partners, his Florida neighbor Justin Thomas, whom Woods considers a little brother, and Fred Couples, who has at times has served as something of a big brother to Woods.
Befitting the atmosphere, the group smiled regularly thorough the round, although Couples, 62, the 1992 Masters champion, noticed a slight change in Woods’s demeanor since playing practice rounds with him earlier in the week.
“He was a little more serious; he’s getting ready to roll,” Couples said. “The first practice round I played with him on Monday we had both flown in that day and we were laughing a lot. He was lighter. Today, he and Justin were pretty serious. They’re getting ready.”
Image Couples, left, Woods and Thomas skipped their practice shots over the water on the 16th green.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
Fans lining the holes that the Woods group played Wednesday alternatively cheered Woods, the five-time Masters champion, on the tees and in the fairways and remained quiet as they almost reverentially watched him practice his putting from different spots on each green.
Couples said Woods, who had a more pronounced limp on Wednesday than on any of the other days he practiced at Augusta National, appeared to be swinging the club better than any other day this week. Woods’s surgically rebuilt right leg, however, is clearly causing him some pain.
“The pain is there, but he’s dealt with that before,” Couples said. “In terms of his swing, I think he’s a little sharper, a little better.”
Couples added that he continues to be mesmerized that Woods is back at the Masters so quickly after his horrific car crash on Feb. 23, 2021.
“It’s a miraculous thing, I mean, 14 months ago I’m bawling like a baby every day worried about him,” he said. “And now you’re paired with him and he looks strong. He’s hitting it plenty far enough to play this course, and he plays this course so well. He knows what to do here. I think it’s amazing for him to be out here.”