Tiger Woods thankful after completing Masters comeback, commits to playing The Open

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods on Sunday finished a week that didn’t seem possible less than 14 months ago. The 15-time major champion already committed to playing in the The Open at St. Andrews in July and said he many play in next month’s PGA Championship.

Playing in his first official tournament since he was seriously injured in a car wreck outside Los Angeles on Feb. 23, 2021, Woods walked up the 18th fairway to applause at Augusta National Golf Club.

Woods said he’ll look back on the week and be thankful.

“I keep saying it, but I am,” Woods said. “I really am. I truly am. Just to get to this point.”

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Woods didn’t have the results he wanted. The 15-time major champion, whose career includes five Masters triumphs, said earlier in the week that he thought he could win another green jacket, but he finished well off the leaderboard after carding 6-over 78 in each of his final two rounds. They were his worst rounds at the Masters.

Woods, 46, will have to take solace in making the cut in his first official event in more than 17 months. More importantly, his surgically repaired right leg held up while playing 72 holes at one of the most demanding golf courses in the world.

“I don’t think words can really describe that given where I was a little over a year ago and what my prospects were at that time to end up here and be able to play in all four rounds,” Woods said. “Even a month ago, I didn’t know if I could pull this off. I think it was a positive, and I’ve got some work to do and looking forward to it.”

After his round, Woods told Sky Sports that he plans to play in The Open at St. Andrews in July. He isn’t yet sure if he’ll play in the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in May or the U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, in June.

“It’ll be just the big events,” Woods said. “I don’t know if it’ll be Southern Hills or not. But I am looking forward to St. Andrews. That is something that is near and dear to my heart. I’ve won two Opens there, it’s the home of golf. It’s my favorite golf course in the world, so I will be there for that one. But anything in between that, I don’t know. I will try, no doubt. Like this week, I will try and get ready for Southern Hills and we’ll see what this body is able to do.”

After opening with a 1-under 71 on Thursday, Woods’ limp became more pronounced and he seemed to run out of energy. His 72-hole score of 13-over 301 was his highest in 24 appearances as a professional at the Masters; his previous worst was 6 over in 1996, his second appearance as an amateur. It was the first time Woods was over par in the last two rounds of the Masters and the first time he finished double-digit over par at a major championship since he was 13 over at the 2013 U.S. Open.

Woods got off to a much better start than he did on Saturday. He made par on the first hole and then a birdie on the par-5 second. After a 335-yard drive, Woods had 229 yards left to the hole. He hit his second shot just over the back of the green, and then putted to 3 feet.

But then Woods had three consecutive bogeys on Nos. 4, 5 and 6 — the first time he had bogeys on those three consecutive holes in 94 career rounds at Augusta National.

On the par-3 fourth, Woods hit his tee shot into a greenside bunker. He missed a 12-footer for par. On the next hole, he dropped his club on his second shot with an iron. His ball ended up short and right of the green, and he was unable to get up and down for par. Woods was 4 over on the 495-yard fourth hole in four rounds this week.

Even though Woods couldn’t play the way he wanted, he was happy to be back at Augusta National. His friend and fellow PGA Tour pro Bryson DeChambeau, who missed the cut, stuck around and walked Woods’ round on Sunday.

“This tournament has meant so much to me and my family, this entire tournament,” Woods said. “[If] you go back to the year I was born, [that] was the year that the first Black man played in the Masters in Lee Elder. He was an honorary starter last year. He was there when I won in ’97. Twenty-five years later here I am playing again. “It’s meant a lot to me, and there’s no other place, no other major that we play in the same venue. St. Andrews is, obviously, near and dear to my heart because it’s the home of golf, and I’ve been able to win a couple of Opens there, but we rotate. This is different. This is where all the great champions have ever played.”