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2024 Masters: Tiger Woods set to play golf tournament after practice at Augusta

Tiger Woods playing golf

Five-time champion Tiger Woods looks set to make his 26th appearance at the Masters after being pictured in the practice area in a social media post made by host venue the Augusta National Golf Club.

Former world number one Woods visited Augusta with new caddie Lance Bennett and is poised to try to make the cut for a record 24th consecutive time, although his participation could depend on how his troublesome left ankle and lower back feel during the week.

Notah Begay III, Woods’ former teammate at Stanford and a golf analyst for NBC Sports, reportedly said on a conference call last week that Woods is “trying to formulate a strategy” but has “zero mobility” in his ankle and “low-back challenges”.

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“For the past couple of months, he’s been trying to find a way to recover,” ESPN quoted Begay as saying. “He can play the golf. We always knew the question was going to be, ‘can he walk the 72 [holes]?’

“That’s still up in the air. But can he recover from one round to the next? That’s the biggest question that I really don’t know, and he’s not going to know either until he gets out there and figures out whether the way he’s prepared for this year’s Masters is going to work for him.”

Tiger Woods eyes 2024 Masters

Woods made the 36-hole cut at Augusta last year before withdrawing because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He took part in the Genesis Invitational, which is organised by his foundation, in February but pulled out during the second round because of illness.

Now 48 and ranked 950th in the world through inactivity, Woods won the first of his five Masters titles in 1997, last triumphing in 2019 – 14 years after his previous win.

In his six tournament appearances since being involved in a car crash in 2021, Woods has missed the cut four times and finished 47th in the 2022 Masters and 45th in the 2023 Genesis Invitational.

Speaking in November 2023, Woods said his “best scenario” would be to play “maybe a tournament a month”. “I think that’s realistic,” he added. “The biggest events are one-per-month, so it sets itself up for that.

“At some point in time, I was going to have to have my ankle replaced or fused. That timetable was sped up. They weren’t expecting me to put as many forces into that ankle when I hit drives.

“That ankle just went. It was bone on bone. That’s why you saw me limping and not looking very good. We chose the fusion. The six months of doing nothing is the hard part. The first couple of months were really tough. Unfortunately, I’ve had the experience before. I’m on the good side now.”

Current world number one Scottie Scheffler is the strong favourite to win the 2024 Masters, with Rory McIlroy and reigning champion Jon Rahm among the American’s likely rivals.

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