Apr
3
2015
Our long national nightmare is over: Tiger Woods is playing the Masters
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods

Or, wait? Perhaps the nightmare is just starting? As we know, anything that involves Tiger Woods creates more chaos and the present situation only amplifies it, but one thing’s for sure, Augusta National will be abuzz with Woods’ return next week at the Masters.

Following a report that Tiger Woods was back on the practice range at Augusta National on Friday after he shot a 74 on Tuesday at the oh-so-hallowed grounds of the season’s first major, Woods announced via his website that it was official — he is indeed returning to competition at the Masters.

“I’m playing in the Masters,” Tiger said Friday afternoon. “It’s obviously very important to me, and I want to be there.

“I’ve worked a lot on my game and I’m looking forward to competing. I’m excited to get to Augusta and I appreciate everyone’s support.”

Well, that’s revealing! — said no one ever.

Woods will tee it up for the first time since February 5th when he played 11 holes in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open before withdrawing due to stiffness in his back. The week prior, the 14-time major champion made his 2015 debut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and missed the cut after posting 73-82. Yep, he’s played a total of 47 holes of competitive golf this year, and when we last saw him, he was seriously struggling with his short game, leading many to speculate that he was dealing with the chipping yips.

On February 11, Woods announced that he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from tournament golf because his play and scores were not “acceptable” for “tournament golf.” He added that he would return when he felt like he was ready to “compete at the highest level.”

Now, Woods, who played a practice round with two Augusta National members on Tuesday, reportedly shot 74, which included some sketchy chips — one went over the green and another found a bunker.

If Woods is still struggling with his chipping, then Augusta National seems like it’d be the worst possible place for him to make his competitive return. However, it is a place where he’s had success, with 11 top-five finishes and four wins. He’s also very familiar with the course and just about as comfortable there as anyone can get.

Woods, who is now ranked 104th in the world rankings, has expectedly added more buzz (and the circus component — though, of course, the green coats will make sure it’s somewhat controlled) to the already greatly-anticipated first major of the year.

But, hey, good news for Rory McIlroy! — the Tiger circus will take some attention away from the 25-year-old Ulsterman trying to complete the career grand slam at the Masters.

Also: Hopefully you already have your badges secured because Tiger’s confirmed attendance (for at least two competitive rounds) just made ticket prices soar — and perhaps the tournament that much more interesting to the casual golf fan.