‘Stubborn’ Woods accepts current ‘lack of mobility’ but feels he can still win -
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‘Stubborn’ Woods accepts current ‘lack of mobility’ but feels he can still win

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Masters champion Tiger Woods of the United States speaks to members of the media in a pre-event press conference during practice round 2 at Augusta National Golf Club, Tuesday, April 4, 2023.

From V Krishnaswamy in Augusta, US

 AUGUSTA, Ga: Stubborn is how Tiger Woods described himself on the eve of his 25th Masters, a tournament he has won five times between 1997 and 2019. Even though he was happy to have made the cut last year overcoming so many physical hurdles, he yearns to win it once more and join Jack Nicklaus at the summit with six Green Jackets.

Woods will go on Thursday with Viktor Hovland, the young Norwegian, who has twice won his tournament, the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, and received the Trophy from the legend himself. Now they will play together in three threesome that includes Xander Schauffele.

Woods has played just once this year, three times in 2022 and that was all at the Majors, including the 2022 Masters. He even missed his own event, the Hero World Challenge, pulling out a day before the start.

In 2022, he made the cut at Augusta and called ‘the finishing four rounds’ as a small victory by itself, because of his troubles while walking post injuries and accidents.

At the Masters last year Woods has indicated that he would not be there unless he thought he had a good chance of winning the tournament. It may have changed a lot, for he said, “Well, it’s different. I didn’t win the tournament, but for me to be able to come back and play was a small victory in itself. Yeah, I still would have liked to have gotten the W, but I didn’t, but I think I got my own smaller version of that, to be able to come back and just be able to play. I had a little time off there before; I had not played in a while. I know the golf course and I know where to miss and I know where to hit it. I was able to do that and somehow shoot under par and make it to the weekend. It was a little tough on that Saturday.”

Comparing 2022 and 2023, he said, “I think my game is better than it was last year at this particular time. I think my endurance is better. But it aches a little bit more than it did last year just because at that particular time when I came back, I really had not pushed it that often. And I had a little window in which I did push it and was able to come back. Fast-forwarding, I didn’t really play a whole lot afterwards. Took a little bit to recover from the event.

I played in February at L.A. and then took a little time off before getting ready for this. You know, I just have to be cognizant of how much I can push it. Like Rory was saying, I can hit a lot of shots but the difficulty for me is going to be the walking going forward. It is what it is. I wish it could be easier.”

Asked what has helped him overcome all the hurdles that he has come across in his career, Woods shot, “Stubbornness. Yeah, you guys have seen me. I’m a little on the stubborn side. I believe in hard work, and I believe in getting out there and getting out of it what you put into it. I’ve worked very hard throughout my career and in my craft; I’ve always loved it.

“I’ve certainly had my share of adversity physically and had multiple surgeries and I’ve had to come back and work through that. You know, those were tough. They were never easy. But it’s just the overall desire to win has always been there, and I’ve always worked at it and believed in what I could do.”

Woods is not sure how long he will continue to come to the Masters, where he is loved. He said, “I don’t know how many more I have in me. I know more guys on the Champions Tour than I do the regular tour.”

“The overall desire to win has always been there,” Woods said. “And I’ve always worked at it and believed in what I could do.”

He has pushed himself getting ready for the Masters. “I’ve been able to re-create a lot of the chip shots at home in my backyard, or I’m at Medalist (golf course) hitting balls off the side of lies,” said Woods. “I’m trying to simulate shots and rehearsing again and again each and every flag location, each and every shot I would possibly hit.”

He went on, “I’m very lucky to have this leg; it’s mine. Yes, it has been altered and there’s some hardware in there, but it’s still mine. It has been tough and will always be tough. The ability and endurance of what my leg will do going forward will never be the same. I understand that. That’s why I can’t prepare and play as many tournaments as I like, but that’s my future, and that’s OK. I’m OK with that.”

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