Unlike most PGA Tour events, there is no deadline for Woods, 46, to decide whether he is going to play at Augusta National, and he will be listed in the field until he tells tournament officials he isn’t playing. That apparently has not happened yet.
It should be noted that Woods has a history of delaying his Masters decisions. In 2016, when he was dealing with back injuries, the five-time Masters winner waited until six days before the tournament to announce he was not playing. Those back injuries lingered into 2017, when Woods again waited until six days before the tournament to announce he wouldn’t be playing.
Both announcements were made via Woods’s website on the Friday night before those tournaments began.
In February 2021, Woods suffered comminuted open fractures to the tibia and fibula in his right leg during the car crash in Southern California, which means both bones broke into at least three pieces and broke through the skin. He also suffered foot and ankle injuries, and in November he said amputation was “on the table.”
Still, Woods seemed optimistic that he could return to play a limited schedule, though he didn’t “foresee this leg being ever what it used to be.”
“To ramp up for a few tournaments a year, there’s no reason I can’t do that and feel ready,” he said. “I’ve come off long layoffs and I’ve won or come close to winning. I know the recipe. I just have to get to the point where I feel comfortable that I can do it again.”
In December, Woods teamed up with his son, Charlie, to play in a father-son tournament in Florida, finishing second behind John Daly and his son. Tiger Woods used a golf cart to get around the course, which is not allowed at Augusta National.
After the tournament, Woods said he disagreed with fellow pro Matt Kuchar’s assessment that his swing had returned to the point where he could compete on the PGA Tour.
“I totally disagree. I’m not — I’m not at that level,” he said. “I can’t compete against these guys right now, no. …Obviously when I had my back fusion [surgery in 2017], I didn’t know if I could ever be out here again and do it. This was a totally different deal. This was whether or not I would have a prosthetic or not, and I don’t. So I’m very lucky and very thankful to all of the surgeons and the nurses that have helped me along the line and all my physios.”
Woods has played in all but three Masters since his first start there as an amateur in 1995, and as a past champion he receives a lifetime invitation to play. He has nine other top-10 finishes at the Masters to go with his five victories, but his most recent appearance in 2020 resulted in a tie for 38th.
Unlike at most professional golf events, there is no alternate player who would take Woods’s place if he cannot play. The only possible spot left in the field would go to the winner of this week’s Texas Open, assuming that player had not qualified via other pathways.