Masters: Tiger Woods 'looks great,' says Will Zalatoris

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The Masters brings together the best in the game of golf. But even the world’s best stand in awe of Tiger Woods.

Will Zalatoris, one year to the day removed from surgery that sidelined him for the entirety of the 2023 major season, teed it up alongside Woods for a practice round Monday and came away impressed.

“He played great today,” Zalatoris said. “He outdrove me a couple times, so there was some chirping going on.”

Woods has won five green jackets, but this year, success would come with a slightly lower level of achievement: a record-setting 24th straight made cut at Augusta. Woods has made just eight starts since his February 2021 car crash that severely damaged his right leg and ankle.

Last April, Woods made the cut at the Masters but withdrew early in the third round amid cold, driving rain. This season, he’s only played 24 holes, withdrawing in the second round of the Genesis Invitational with flu symptoms.

But Woods always manages to find something within himself at Augusta National, and perhaps Zalatoris — who is recovering from a microdiscectomy similar to the one Woods underwent several years ago — got a close look at that Monday.

“He looks great. He's moving as well as he can be,” Zalatoris said. “With everything he's gone through, it's pretty amazing to see how good he's swinging it.” Granted, that’s some pretty heavily conditioned praise. But considering how well Woods has performed at Augusta National — from his 12-stroke victory in 1997 to his miraculous final (?) victory in 2019 — he’s always going to draw attention.

“You could just sit there and analyze the same stats for his entire career and put him in five different buckets,” Zalatoris said, “and every one of them is never going to be broken.”

The Masters begins Thursday, and both Woods and Zalatoris will be looking to put a lost 2023 behind them.

“It's hard to say that I can appreciate this place any more,” Zalatoris said. “I'm pretty lucky to be here.”