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Tiger Woods' Hope Burns Bright: Golf Legend Eyes Another Masters Green Jacket

Tiger Woods was asked what he was capable of doing at the Augusta Masters 2024 against Scottie Scheffler and defending champion Jon Rahm. The all-time great golfer said he can get one more title “if everything comes together”

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Tiger Woods is in the running to win yet another Masters title. Photo: AP
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Tiger Woods still thinks he can win another Masters. Recent evidence would suggest that might be a steeper climb than walking up to the 18th green at Augusta National. (More Sports News)

Never mind he is 48 and has had more surgeries than his 15 major titles. Or that in his 10 rounds at the Masters since he won in 2019, he has broken par — and not by much — only three times. Or that his body has allowed him to play only 24 holes of tournament golf this year.

Woods was asked Tuesday what he was capable of doing against Scottie Scheffler and defending champion Jon Rahm, against a field that brings together the best from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf for the first time since July.

“If everything comes together, I think I can get one more,” Woods said. He paused briefly before adding, “Do I need to describe that any more than that, or are we good?”

The answer will start to reveal itself Thursday. As always, there is much curiosity about the one player who once was as predictable as golf allows.

There is a practical side to Woods. He knows the limitations of age and injury because he said he feels it just about every day.

“Some days, I just feel really good,” he said. “Other days, not so much.”

That's a product of knee surgeries, a fused lower back, a fused ankle. He is not limping as much, like last year when he wound up withdrawing before he could finish the rain-delayed third round at the Masters.

But his hope going into 2024 was to play once a month. That seemed to be a reasonable plan until he skipped all of the Florida swing in March.

“My body wasn't ready,” he said. “My game wasn't ready.”

Woods said he doesn't practice nearly as much as he once did, even with his own short-game course in the backyard of his Florida home. His future has been so clouded that even his private jet being spotted on its way to Augusta a few weeks ago became news.

To him, the Masters is another chance to compete on his favorite course at his favorite major. That still matters. For as long as he has played, as often as he has won, with so many trophies he doesn't know where most of them are, it doesn't get old.

“I love golf. I do,” he said with a warm smile. “I've always loved it. I played other sports growing up, but I just have always loved this sport. I love to compete. And to be able to have the love I have for the game and the love for competition be intertwined, I think that's one of the reasons why I've had a successful career.”

He took a few clubs with him on the front nine when he arrived Sunday, then played the back nine with Will Zalatoris on Monday and the front nine with Fred Couples and Justin Thomas on Tuesday.

They all had wonderful reviews of Woods and how he is swinging. That's become its own tradition at every major over the last few years. He does just enough, even now, to make people wonder if there's one more left in him.

At stake for Woods is to make the cut at the Masters for the 24th consecutive time, which would break the record he shares with Couples and Gary Player.

“I think the last thing he's thinking about is making the cut,” Couples said. “Can he win here? You know what? Yeah. I just watched him play nine holes, and nine holes is only nine holes on a Tuesday, but he never mishit a shot. But the idea of making a cut ... that's a huge record, but he's here to win. He's here to play really, really hard.”

A warm, overcast day kept the conditions firm and the biggest anticipation is how much a day of rain in the forecast later in the week will take away from a fast golf course.

Tuesday typically is the busiest day for practice, with an abbreviated schedule on Wednesday ahead of the Par 3 Tournament.

Scheffler is the favorite, with odds better than they have been for anyone since Woods. Rory McIlroy has been a curious case, not arriving until Tuesday (he came to Augusta a week ago for two days) and agreeing to a news conference only if it was kept to 10 minutes.

“I guess just trying to bring a little bit of normalcy into what I sort of try to do week in, week out,” McIlroy said. “I play 25 weeks a year, and there's no point in doing anything different this week compared to other weeks.”

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There is little normal about Woods these days, not after all he's been through on and off the golf course, particularly the injuries that have limited his practice and his tournaments.

That he still believes he can win is normal. He always says that. But there will come a time when his best isn't good enough — Woods was talking about that when he was still in his late 20s and at the peak of his game.

“I don't know when that day is, when that day comes,” Woods said. “But I still think that I can. I haven't got to that point where I don't think I can't.”

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