Tiger Tuesday is back with a new edition.
Since the private jet N517TW, a 2008 Gulfstream 5 owned by Tiger Woods, took off from Stuart, Florida, sometime before 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday, golf Twitter has been in a frenzy tracking the latest whereabouts of a plane carrying Tiger on his way to Augusta National to test out his surgically-repaired leg, and what it means for Tiger’s chances of competing at the 86th Masters next week.
Golf As he made his way to golf’s promised land, Twitter took turns delivering updates. He landed around 9:30 a.m. ET.
The plane was afterwards sighted circling Augusta. Was he arriving at Augusta Regional Airport or Daniel Field? The Quadrilateral’s Geoff Shackelford inquired.
Golf Digest’s Claire Rogers commented, “This is golf’s version of the NORAD Santa Tracker.”
Eureka Earth took it a step further and supplied video of the plane on the runway, complete with the Tiger Woods Foundation emblem on its tail.
🚨THE GOAT IS HERE!!!🚨
— Eureka Earth® (@EurekaEarthPlus) March 29, 2022
“I can confirm that TW is playing at Augusta National today,” golf coach and short-game expert Jeff Ridyard tweeted.
According to Sports Illustrated/Morning Read’s Bob Harig, Woods was playing with his son Charlie and good friend Justin Thomas, who is one of the favorites for the Masters.
What exactly does it all imply? It’s hard to say, but Tiger appears to be making enough progress in his recovery from a single-car accident in Los Angeles last February to keep his (and Tiger Nation’s) hopes alive that he’ll be back next week. Tiger earlier stated that his leg was on the verge of being amputated.
Woods is still listed among the previous champions anticipated to compete, as reported last week. He hasn’t informed Augusta National, as Phil Mickelson and Ian Woosnam have already done this year, that he wants to be included to the list of past champions who aren’t competing with Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Tom Watson.
— Gabby Herzig (@GabbyHerzig) March 29, 2022
When asked about his return in February at the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational, which he hosts, Woods was evasive. He wouldn’t even say whether he will compete in the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday, let alone discuss the possibility of winning his sixth Green Jacket and 16th major championship.
“Hey, Jimmy, slow down, turbo, slow down,” he said when asked by CBS Jim Nantz during an in-booth interview during the broadcast of the final round regarding the Par 3 Contest.
“I don’t want to come out here and simply play,” Woods remarked when asked about the majors, possibly his most telling remark. “That’s how I’m wired.” I need to believe that I can beat these men, and I need to put in the work at home. It’s all up to me.”
The first sign that Woods would actually tee it up next week came in the form of an Instagram video of him strolling the course at his home club in Florida, The Medalist Club.
It’s also worth noting that Mark Steinberg, Woods’ longtime agent, was quick to point out that a set of irons thought to have been used by Tiger during his Tiger Slam in 2000-01 and currently up for auction weren’t the legitimate set, and that Tiger still owns them. However, Steinberg has not refuted any of the numerous reports that Woods was increasing his practice in preparation for a possible Masters run.
None of this implies that he will participate.
Augusta National is the most difficult walk on the PGA Tour, and Tiger knows it better than anyone. He’ll have to be able to walk for at least four days and 72 holes, not just 18. That will put a lot of strain on his body. This is the first time Tiger has won a major with one leg. He’s already stated that he won’t be utilizing a cart, as he did in December while competing in the PNC Championship with his son, Charlie, in a 36-hole showcase.
Tiger has tinkered with the golfing industry in the past. In 2016 and 2017, he waited until the weekend before the event to announce his decision not to compete. Is he simply “exerting every effort” to see if he’s ready to climb Mt. Olympus yet again, only to realize that it’s too soon?
It’s just speculation until Tiger announces his decision, but if he doesn’t play next week, it indicates he’ll be back sooner rather than later. Only one thing is certain: Tiger will be in Augusta next week. On Tuesday, he agreed to attend the Champions Dinner. And never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever,