When the Masters interview schedule was rolled out on Thursday, the only name that stood out on the rostter was of Tiger Woods. Amongst the other top professionals in the world, Tiger was given a 1 hour slot at 1 PM on Tuesday to face questions from the media. All the other players were only slotted for a duration of 30 minutes.
While this shouldn’t be taken as any confirmation of his participation as a player at the Masters but it definitely signals that the tournament committee is confident that Tiger will committ in the coming few days. Maybe there is something behind his inclusion on the interview schedule that we don’t know!
Before speculating any further, it should be made clear that the Masters, unlike other golf events, does not have an entry deadline. So going by that, Woods has the liberty to take a last-minute call and can play practice rounds at Augusta before making any decision.
It is well-known that Tiger Woods holds the Masters tournament in special regard and would love to get a fifth green jacket. There has also been inside news that he has been practicing quite diligently in the Palm Beach area along with his coach, Chris Como. Tiger waited until 8 PM on the Friday before the start of last year’s Masters, which goes to show that he was still contemplating playing in the event after multiple back surgeries just six months prior. He went on to miss the entire 2016 season.
Tiger returned at his own foundation’s event, The Hero World Challenge in Bahamas, in December 2016 after a 15 month absence. He produced some flashes of brilliance and went on to lead the field in maximum birdies for the tournament. However, in his first official PGA Tour event on his comeback, he missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open as his struggles became a lot more apparent.
Woods then flew to the Middle East to play at the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic where he shot an opening round 77 before his back flared up yet again. His withdrawal in Dubai was followed by pulling out of scheduled appearances at the Genesis Open and Honda Classic as well as the tournament where he has won 8 times, the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Tiger missed the Masters in 2014 and 2016 due to his back issues and finished 13 strokes behind winner, Jordan Spieth in 2015.
Take a look at the Masters interview schedule below: