The Masters: 'I'm right where I need to be' - Woods sore but well poised at Augusta

By Sports Desk April 07, 2022

Tiger Woods says he was "sore" but "right where I need to be" after making a promising start to his astonishing comeback at The Masters.

It was feared the 15-time major champion's incredible career would be over when he suffered serious leg and foot injuries in a car accident in February 2021.

Yet just over 13 months later, the legendary American was teeing off in the first major of the season at Augusta and was just three shots off the lead when he signed for a one-under 71.

At the famous course where he won the green jacket five times, Woods made three birdies and two bogeys in a promising return.

Sungjae Im was at the top of the leaderboard on five under through 15 holes, with Dustin Johnson a shot adrift of the South Korean along with Cameron Smith, who started and finished with a double bogey as he went round in 68.

The 46-year-old Woods says it feels like a victory just to be playing this week and is ready to go through the pain barrier in Georgia, where he was given such great support on Thursday.

He said: "I am as sore as I expected to feel, but it was amazing to have - like I was telling the team all week, come game time, it will be a different deal.

"My adrenaline will kick in. I'll get into my own little world, and I'll get after it. It's about the training that we've done to have the stamina to go.

"I'm going to be sore, yes. That's just the way it is. But the training cycles that we've had to make sure that I have the stamina to keep going -- and this is only one round. We've got three more to go. There's a long way to go and a lot of shots to be played."

Woods revealed that his pre-round preparation had not gone to plan.

"I had a terrible warm-up session," he said. "I hit it awful. I went back to what my dad always said. Did you accomplish your task in the warm-up? It's a warm-up. Did you warm-up?

"Yes, I did. Now go play. That's exactly what I did, I went and played."

"I forgot whatever I did on the range and just go ahead and play shot for shot, hit the ball in the correct spot, commit to what I'm doing, leave myself in the right angles, hopefully make a few putts, and let's get after this thing. Yeah, I was able to do that.

"I was able to finish up in the red. I'm only three back. I'm right where I need."

The former world number one, who could have lost a leg following his car accident last year, had more work to do after such an encouraging opening round.

He added: "Lots of treatments. Lots of ice. Lots of ice baths. Just basically freezing myself to death. That's just part of the deal. And getting all the swelling out as best as we possibly can and getting it mobile and warmed up, activated and explosive for the next day. Those are two totally different ends of the spectrum.

"Most sports, if you're not feeling very good, you got a team-mate to pass it off to, and they can kind of shoulder the load. Or in football, one day a week. Here we've got four straight days, and there's no one that's going to shoulder the load besides me. I've got to figure out a way to do it.

"My team's been incredible at getting me into this position so that I can compete. I'll take it from there. I know how to play. I've just got to get out there where I can play."

Related items

  • Paul Casey to join LIV Golf Paul Casey to join LIV Golf

    England’s Paul Casey, ranked 26th in the world, has become the latest player to join the Saudi Arabia-funded LIV Golf Invitational.

    Casey has won 21 times as a professional, including three times on the PGA Tour and another 15 on the European Tour. He also represented Team Europe five times in the Ryder Cup.

    A back injury has kept Casey sidelined since he took part in the WGC Match Play Championship in March. He played two holes of his opening match when he conceded due to back spasms, before withdrawing from the Masters, PGA Championship and U.S. Open.

    He plans to make his LIV debut later this month at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

    Casey joins a growing list of players to accept PGA Tour bans and join the breakaway series, fronted by CEO Greg Norman and funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

    Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson are some of the marquee names that have come on board with the promise of big signing bonuses, hefty prize purses and an eased schedule.

  • Branden Grace takes out LIV Golf Portland Branden Grace takes out LIV Golf Portland

    Branden Grace posted a seven-under 65 in the final round on Saturday, leapfrogging Dustin Johnson and Carlos Ortiz to win LIV Golf Portland.

    Two shots behind the co-leaders at the start of the third round, Grace reeled off four birdies in the final six holes, including three consecutive birdies between 15 and 17, to take out the tournament.

    With the victory, the South African follows up compatriot Charl Schwartel's win in London at LIV Golf's inaugural event in June.

    The South African quartet that makes up Stinger GC - Grace, Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Hennie du Plessis – could only manage second in the team standings, though, with Johnson's 4 Aces GC taking out first.

    "What a day. It's been like this the whole day, the crowd came out and I played flawless golf," Grace said afterwards. "I played, really, really well when I needed to do something special. It came up and I managed to pull it off, but what a great day.

    "I knew the back nine, I had to kind of dig deep. Carlos was playing great golf, DJ was coming back and I think, one of the big things for me today was the birdie on 13.

    "Then I thought, 'Now, I'm in with it.' Obviously, the finish was just amazing."  

    Amid the news former Ryder Cup player Paul Casey defected from the PGA Tour to the Saudi-backed breakaway competition, Grace finished the tournament on 13-under, two strokes ahead of Ortiz who posted a three-under 69 on Saturday.

    They were followed by 2020 Masters winner Johnson and another recent defector in Patrick Reed, who finished on nine-under after 54 holes.

    Six-time major champion Phil Mickelson finished tied for 40th this week with a 54-hole score of 10-over. Through two LIV Golf events, Mickelson is a combined 20-over par.

  • Poston maintains lead after third-round at John Deere Classic Poston maintains lead after third-round at John Deere Classic

    J.T. Poston holds a three-stroke lead heading into the final round of the John Deere Classic after shooting a four-under 67 on Saturday.

    Trying to complete a wire-to-wire victory after tying for second last weekend at the Travelers Championship, Poston sits on 19-under after 54 holes at TPC Deere Run.

    The 29-year-old started strongly with three birdies on the front nine, but suffered a blip on the closing nine holes, with a birdie on 14 softening the blow of bogeys on 12 and 15.

    He recovered to take momentum into Sunday with an eagle on the par-five 17th, forcing his way past the bunkers on his approach to the green to then one-putt and restore breathing room from the chasing pack.

    Despite the solid form coming into this weekend in Silvis, Poston's lone win on the PGA Tour came in 2019, taking out the Wyndham Championship.

    He leads a three-way tie for second between Scott Stallings, Denny McCarthy and Emiliano Grillo, who birdied four of the last five holes on Saturday to finish on 16-under.

    Out of the top four players on the leaderboard, McCarthy is the lone player not to have won a tournament on the PGA Tour, with Stallings and Grillo's last wins coming in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

    Trailing them is Callum Tarren on 15-under, with Bo Hoag and Chris Naegel tied for sixth on 14-under.

    Hoag, the world number 524, was Saturday's big mover with a third-round score of eight-under, opening the first four holes with two birdies and an eagle.

    He more than compensated for his solitary bogey on 15 with birdies on 14, 16 and 17 to finish with the day's lowest score.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.