There’s only one guy on the planet who probably knows if Tiger Woods is competing in next week’s Masters: Tiger Woods. And he may not be totally sure if he’s well enough to chase a fifth green jacket at Augusta National.
Woods, however, has to at least be seriously contemplating playing. How do we know? He remains on the pre-tournament interview list at Augusta National. Woods is still slated for a 1 p.m. Tuesday news conference — his typical slot — that would be reserved for a player of his caliber who is entered into the competition.
Of course, just because Woods is on the interview list doesn’t mean he’s playing. He could withdraw at any time before then, and he doesn’t have to indicate if he’s playing, really, until an assigned Thursday tee time. There are no alternates at the Masters, so Woods wouldn’t be stealing a spot by waiting until the last minute to decide.
Woods hasn’t played since shooting a 77 in the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic on Feb. 2, withdrawing the next morning before his second round citing lower back spasms for the fourth time in his career.
Since making his return to competitive golf in December 2016 after a 16-month absence, Woods has played just seven competitive rounds. He didn’t play in the Masters in 2014 or 2016, finishing tied for 17th place. Woods has never missed a cut at the Masters as a professional, and 2017 marks the 20-year anniversary of his first green jacket won in 12-shot rout.
Last week, during a media tour to promote his book detailing his 1997 Masters win, Woods said he was “trying everything” to get his body in good enough shape to play in the year’s first major.