Despite Masters finish, Tiger Woods encouraged and eyeing next three majors

Tiger Woods played 72 holes in an official PGA Tour event for the first time since February 2023, and the weekend at a major for the first time since the 2022 Masters. Given the physical challenges he’s faced since having subtalar fusion surgery on his right ankle last April, making the cut at the year’s most demanding walk is a moral victory by any measure.

 

“It was a good week. It was a good week all around,” the five-time Masters champion said following a closing 77 on Sunday at Augusta National. “I think that coming in here, not having played a full tournament in a very long time, it was a good fight on Thursday and Friday. Unfortunately, yesterday it didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted it to.”

 

 

For those inclined to view life through an optimistic lens, Woods also offered an encouraging take on what the rest of his season might look like. “This is a golf course I knew going into it, so I’m going to do my homework going forward at Pinehurst [U.S. Open], Valhalla [PGA Championship] and Troon [Open Championship], but that’s kind of the game plan,” he added.

 

It should be noted, however, that Woods is not yet qualified for the U.S. Open. However, as a three-time champion, he will likely get a special exemption from the USGA.

 

Now the bad news.

 

Woods’ 60th-place finish (dead last) was his worst at the year’s first major since he missed the cut in 1996 as an amateur and his third-round 82 was the highest 18-hole score of his major championship career as a professional.

 

“I think that just the wind and what it was doing out here to the golf shots and the balls and putting, how difficult the course was playing, it doesn’t take much to get out of position here,” he said. “Unfortunately, I got out of position a lot yesterday and a couple times today.”

 

Although Woods’ 5-over closing round was an improvement over Saturday’s effort, it was still eventful with bogeys at Nos. 3, 6 and 15 and a triple-bogey 7 at the fifth hole.

 

Despite those struggles, the week proved to be a step in the right direction for Woods, who withdrew from the Genesis Invitational with an unknown illness earlier this season and managed just 36 holes at last year’s Masters before withdrawing with an ankle injury.

 

“Just keep lifting, keep the motor going, keep the body moving, keep getting stronger, keep progressing. Hopefully the practice sessions will keep getting longer,” he said when asked how he would prepare for next month’s PGA Championship.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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