Tiger Woods’ Masters return speculation stories fuelled by Augusta round

Tiger Woods has sparked speculation he will return to competition at next week’s Masters by completing a practice round in Augusta.

The former world number one, 46, is recovering from leg injuries sustained in a car accident 14 months ago.

Social media reported that Woods arrived at Augusta Regional Airport on Tuesday morning before making the short trip to the Masters’ home.

He rode 18 holes with his son Charlie and fellow PGA Tour pro Justin Thomas.

“He played every one of them,” a source told ESPN. “He looked good to me.”

Woods is named among 91 entrants in next week’s Masters, a tournament he has won five times, most recently in 2019, but it was thought the Augusta National’s hilly course might prove too much for the 15-time champion.

He appears to have used his training with Thomas, a close friend of the Woods family, as a fitness test to see if he can make a sensational comeback at the first men’s tournament of the year.

He suffered serious injuries to his right leg and right foot in the single-vehicle incident on February 23, 2021. He had open fractures in the upper and lower parts of his right tibia and fibula.

Woods then said doctors nearly amputated his right leg.

Since the crash in suburban Los Angeles, Woods has only played in the 36-hole PNC Championship, where he teamed up with his 12-year-old son and rode in a buggy.

He was filmed playing with his caddie Joe LaCava at the Medalist Golf Club in Florida last weekend.

“I wish I could tell you when I’m playing again,” Woods said on 16 February this year, while hosting the Genesis Invitational tournament on the PGA Tour. “I want to know, but I don’t. My golf activity has been very limited.”

Woods added: “It takes time. What’s frustrating is it’s not at my timetable. I want to be at a certain place, but I’m not.

“I’ve just got to continue working. I’m getting better, yes. But as I said, not at the speed and rate that I would like.

“You add in the age factor, too. You just don’t quite heal as fast, which is frustrating.”

Woods has until next week to decide whether to compete in the Masters.

His participation will likely depend on how his body reacts to the rigors of playing Augusta’s severely undulating 18 holes last Tuesday.