Augusta, Georgia – It was a Thursday that felt like Sunday. That’s what happens when the five-time Masters champion returns to a sport he destroyed in the last quarter of a century, for the first time in 17 months.
Between the last round of the Masters golf competition in November 2020 and this first round of the 2022 Masters, Woods underwent another back operation and nearly lost a leg. So what has he done after a year and a half of professional golf at the highest level? He came out and scored 1 to 71 to beat the average of three, of course.
Given Woods ’growth (the best player in history), what he achieved at Augusta National (five green jackets, no misses in 21 attempts as a professional) and the adversity he faced (“ things … which I don’t wish on anyone) “), this is 71, which will be one of the most remarkable rounds in the history of the Masters.
On paper, this is a great result in a great tournament that could lead to something even better later in the week. But the paper is out of context, and requires the context of a person who almost needed a leg prosthesis to walk again.
There was a feeling that the story was alive from the first hit. Thousands of visitors lined up in the first hole at Augusta National to watch the world’s 973rd golf course make its first official hit in more than 500 days. The Tiger staged the wound with a long nominal blow that unfolded the gallery and seemed to charge the energy of someone who certainly didn’t need more adrenaline.
After five pairs in a row to start their round, Tiger nearly glanced ace in the hole at number 6 and switched to red numbers for the first time in 100 weeks. The untidy stuffed animal on Par-5 8th pushed him up even as he closed his first nine and moved to nine holes on the back of Augusta, which made him as famous as he was.
Three more pairs to start this side before the light bird at № 13 and the scarecrow at № 14 that appeared as a result of the fall. During the day the Tiger hit only nine fairways, and his driver was often more useful to him as a walking device than as a tool to beat the ball around Augusta National.
The Tiger maintained an inappropriate balance on par-5 15th after his first two strikes were left and more. On the Par-3 16th he made a nice kick to the back right shelf, which was better than it probably looked on ShotLink. As he walked to the 16th Green, visitors standing in that hole stood one after the other – as if moving from a tee to a green one – to applaud him. Not for the shot he just made, but because they knew how ridiculous that he had been making shots in general for a little over a year, taken from a hospital bed.
“If you could see what my foot looked like where it is now, photos – some of the guys know. They saw the photos and they came into the house and they saw it,” Woods said after his tour. “To see where I was, to see – to get here from there, was a difficult task.”
The tiger gave the gallery what they came to see, perhaps the cleanest blow he had dealt all day, the one he had done with the right pump for the birdie. He seemed to have just taken the lead on Saturday afternoon. One simple par and one excellent save later, and Woods took off 71, which won’t be considered in his final annals, but still left your jaw on the floor when you witnessed how it happened.
Woods looked tired as he completed his round, which is how one could expect a man whose body appears to be twice as old as his birth certificate to look after after a walk through the mountain’s old children’s room. His game also looked as if he was not holding a pencil and a plaque with marks for Thanksgiving 2020.
There were uncertain, almost brave blows with big sticks that he had to cover around and on the green pitches with a pair of hands that held every significant golf trophy that was ever made.
It was 71 that a less experienced, more impetuous player would have turned into 75.
“To play on this golf course and do what I did today to … hit the right places – I know where to hit it in a lot of these pins, and I miss in the right places and give myself good angles,” – said Woods. “I’ve been doing this all day and I’ve been able to make a few punches and be in the red like now.”
The Tiger entered the clubhouse three times, and ahead of the 2nd round will be four back. He is unlikely to win this golf tournament because the muted bitch in his gait on Thursday afternoon could turn into a complete limp by the end of the week. In addition, he is quite cunning from the tee that even a short game of Seve Balesteras in his heyday could not withstand this load of 72 holes.
However, with the spectacular performance he showed on Thursday, Woods proved two things.
He can make a stretch and make his way into the competition in this tournament. On Thursday, Woods beat the man he took to the Augusta National last week, Justin Thomas, by five strokes after JT spent the first three months of the year looking the best ball striker on the planet. The Tiger can and will overcome enough of this field through 36 holes to generate an iota of hope on Saturday morning.
He also proved something more significant that he proved, it would seem, every year since winning this tournament 25 years ago. Woods returned from a hospital bed to a wheelchair to lie on his back in his palace courtyard, listening to the chirping of birds to forbid the same creatures to go out on Thursday as he unloaded everything remaining in his ounce of intelligence, perseverance and skill. whole.
“[Walking the course] it didn’t get any easier, so to speak, ‘said Woods. – I can swing a golf club. Walking is not easy, and difficult. Like I said, with all the hard work, my leg, it will be hard for the rest of my life. It’s just so, but I can do it. This is what I am very lucky to have the opportunity to play, and not only that, to play the Masters and have such a reception. I mean, the place was electric. ”
Performing this masterful game, Tiger reminded us that never before in sports has anyone had such a high will of man to be so great in one thing. His desire to perform and compete is twice as high as that of men, twice as small as him, who did not reach 10% more.
To watch Woods hide a trauma that must destroy him from within, and endure 71, which would have felt like a miracle a month ago, is to watch someone overcome all the external forces shouting at him that he has done enough.
Definitely, Woods would find it easier to sit at home with his family, watch this Masters and send JT awkward GIFs after his horrific 76 years on Thursday.
Appearing, he overcame a lot, but chose a more difficult path. Tiger chose a path that included more suffering, more frustration and more pain because he was obsessed with the game and submitting it to his will.
Will Thursday’s 71 tell this story in 50 years? It is impossible to say. But if you’ve witnessed or watched Woods ’round, you’ll remember it as one that was bigger than a day and a week. it was (another) of his performances that you just will never forget.
Watch the broadcast of Masters 2022 live until Sunday from Masters Live while we follow the world’s best golfers across Augusta National with Featured Groups, sign up at the famous Amen Corner and see the leaders at the turns on holes 15 and 16. Watch live on CBSSports.com, CBS Sports and Paramount +.