Tiger Woods is BACK! Golf legend completes miraculous recovery as he tees off at the Masters just 14 months after high-speed car crash threatened to end his career
- Tiger Woods tees off at the 86th Masters just 14 months after high-speed car crash in California
- Woods is playing alongside Chile’s Joaquin Niemann and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen
- The five-time winner shocked the world when he arrived at Augusta for a practice round last week
- Woods confirmed that he would play on Tuesday, before insisting: ‘I’m here to win’
- Woods saved par at the first with a nerveless up-and-down after missing the green with his second shot
Tiger Woods‘ miraculous comeback from a serious car crash was completed on Thursday when he teed off at the 86th Masters at Augusta National.
Wearing a bright pink shirt to match the famous azaleas at the Georgia course, Woods sent fans into a frenzy as he arrived ahead of his first round on Thursday.
He was a measure of concentration as he stepped up first to tee off in his group at 4.04pm, but watched with a grimace as he missed the fairway to the right on the par-four opening hole.
That left Woods with a tricky angle for his second shot, and he saw his approach roll off the front of the green.
In typical Tiger fashion, however, he saved par with a nerveless up-and-down, then followed that up with routine pars at the following four holes.
Crowds gather to watch on the first tee at Augusta National as Tiger Woods tees off at the 86th Masters
Woods keeps his head down as he connects with his driver to get under way at the par-four first hole
The all-time great watches his tee shot fly away, where it would finish just off the fairway to the right
Woods shakes hands with Louis Oosthuizen’s caddy as he prepares to tee off in his first round at Augusta National
Woods set up his first birdie landing a glorious tee shot on the par-three sixth to within a foot of the pin to rapturous applause around Augusta and followed it with a confident tap in to move to one-under through six.
He had been robbed of a birdie on the previous hole after a lovely approach shot on the fifth found the top shelf of the green from about 215 yards out.
The birdie putt looked on line the entire way up to the hole and Woods had raised his putter in anticipation of the celebration, only for it to lip out. A tough break for Woods who had to settle for par.
Woods was robbed of a birdie on the fifth as he raised his putter in anticipation of the celebration, only for the putt to lip out
The five-time winner caused a stir last week when he flew to Augusta for a practice round with his son Charlie, having not played a PGA event since his last Masters appearance 18 months ago.
Woods broke both his legs in a high-speed crash in southern California in February 2021, with his right leg severely damaged, resulting in a long and arduous period of rehabilitation.
After feeling comfortable following practice rounds last week and this week, Woods confirmed his intention to play on Tuesday – going as far as to say he thought he could win the tournament.
‘I’m here to win,’ he said. ‘I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think it was possible. I can hit the ball just fine. I don’t have any qualms physically from a golf standpoint.
Woods opted to wear azalea pink to match the famous flowers at Augusta National – where he has won five times before
Woods told the media on Tuesday that he was at the Masters to win it as he eyes a sixth green jacket
‘It’s now walking that’s the hardest part. You know, 72 holes is a long road and it is going to be a tough challenge. But it’s one that I’m up for.’
He added: ‘I’ll know when I can’t win anymore, and that’s when I’ll hang it up, but right now I still think it’s possible.
‘I still have the hands to do it and I can still move. I’ve been in worse situations than I feel right now and won tournaments.’
The 46-year-old, who has 15 majors to his name, teed off alongside Chile’s Joaquin Niemann and South African 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen at 4.04pm BST, following a half-hour delay to the start of the tournament caused by morning thunderstorms.