Fellow players at the Masters this week have commented Tiger Woods returns to Augusta and they are happy to see him back in action.
Woods is poised to make a dramatic comeback to golf on Thursday as he seeks to win a sixth Masters title after a long injury hiatus stemming from a car accident he was involved in just over a year ago.
Speaking at his press conference in Augusta on Tuesday, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy believes Woods’ return to playing competitively is great for the game of golf and will increase interest in the season’s first major.
He said: ‘Tiger has been wonderful to all of us in this room. He creates awareness of the game of golf that no one else can. It’s great for his peers. It’s great for the media.
‘It’s great for this golf club. It’s great for everyone. So every time Tiger Woods is involved, it’s a wonderful thing. ‘
Similarly, Justin Thomas, a close friend of Woods with whom he has been rehearsing this week, had kind words to say about the 46-year-old, specifying his unique pursuit of perfection.
Thomas said: ‘No one has a work ethic and determination like him. I have never seen anything like it in terms of putting your mind to something and in a way setting a goal for yourself and proving to yourself and everyone that you can do it than him.
‘The days and weeks and months when he could not do anything and do the same thing every single day but would look at it as an opportunity to get better and get stronger and get one percent better that day.
‘I think he who plays and plays with being healthy and playing and potentially playing well is generally so good for the game of golf and all of us, no matter where it is. It’s clear that no scene is brighter than it is this week. ‘
2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth agreed with Thomas that there are not many players who would have the resilience to come back so quickly after suffering such severe leg and foot injuries.
Spieth said: ‘He seems to be moving great, in a good mood. It’s amazing if you think about where he was a year ago until now, I do not know how many people, if any, could be out here – and it’s not an easy walk.
“So to be out here and not to throw his age into the mix, but I do not think it helps much for that improvement, but is anyone surprised?”
Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas: 11/1
Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson, Scottie Scheffler: 14/1
Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland: 18/1
Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay. Xander Schauffele: 20/1
Will Zalatoris: 28/1
Sam Burns, Shane Lowry: 33/1
Tiger Woods, Bryson Dechambeau: 40/1
(Odds courtesy of Betfair)
Meanwhile, current US Open champion Jon Rahm noticed how Woods’ presence at Augusta this week had made the spectators and atmosphere on training days so much bigger than they normally would have been.
Rahm said: ‘There’s a lot more electricity in the air and you have Tiger there. Monday (practice) felt like a Saturday in a regular event. ‘
Woods, a 15-time major champion, announced he was planning to play in this year’s Masters at a news conference in Augusta on Tuesday.
MORE: Brooks Koepka warns Tiger Woods ahead of Masters comeback
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