Tiger Woods Arrives at Augusta National for Masters Week

The five-time champion, who hasn't played since the Genesis in February, spent some time chipping and putting Sunday.
The Genesis Invitational - Round Two
The Genesis Invitational - Round Two / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Following a familiar formula, Tiger Woods arrived at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday afternoon, bypassed the practice area, went to the putting green near the clubhouse, then headed out onto the course—with only a few clubs.

The five-time Masters champion returned to the place where he has produced so much glory and headed out to do what he’s done in recent years—spend time chipping and putting around the greens in preparation for the tournament, which begins Thursday.

With him was his caddie, Lance Bennett, who worked for him at the Genesis Invitational in February, and his friend and business associate, Rob McNamara, who serves as Woods’s de facto coach.

Woods employed a similar plan back in 2019 when he went on to win his 15th major championship. He also did the same thing last year, when he made the cut for the 23rd consecutive Masters to tie a record held by Gary Player and Fred Couples.

But Woods was suffering from the injuries caused during a 2021 car crash and ended up withdrawing during a delay of the third round last year. A few weeks later, he had surgery on his right ankle and didn’t play until December at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished 18th in the 20-man field but looked good completing 72 holes in the unofficial event.

It was there where Woods suggested he could play a once-a-month schedule starting in February.

But he withdrew from the Genesis Invitational after just six holes of the second round due to illness. And then he decided not to enter any of the Florida tournaments last month where he might have given himself another start to get ready for the Masters.

Woods did come to Augusta National on a scouting trip on March 30 and showing up on Sunday was another good sign.

This will be just his seventh official tournament start since returning at the 2022 Masters following the car crash 14 months earlier.

Now 48, the 82-time PGA Tour winner is ranked 950th in the world.


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Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a golf writer for SI.com and the author of the book "DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods," which publishes in March and can be ordered here.