UPDATE: Hank Haney was right, Tiger Woods will play in Masters

Tiger Woods is playing his second practice round in Augusta today. (AP photo)

Hank Haney (right) worked with Tiger Woods for six years before the two split. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

Hank Haney (right) worked with Tiger Woods for six years before the two split. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

(UPDATED: 3:30 p.m.)

When Tiger Woods was back at Augusta National playing a second practice round, he still hadn’t announced  whether or not he would be playing in next week’s Masters. But his former coach, Hank Haney, believed the decision already was made, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “He’s playing. He’s been up there twice – obviously he’s going to play.”

Haney was right. Woods is in. He confirmed later in the day that he will be back in Augusta after missing last year’s tournament for the first time since turning pro.

Woods released a statement on his website Friday afternoon, reading: “I’m playing in the Masters. It’s obviously very important to me, and I want to be there. I’ve worked a lot on my game and I’m looking forward to competing. I’m excited to get to Augusta and I appreciate everyone’s support.”

Woods has won four Masters (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005) but he has struggled for most of the last two years. He hasn’t won a tournament since the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in August of 2013 and last won a major in 2008 (U.S. Open). That was his 14th major victory and, at the time, he looked certain to break Jack Nicklaus’s career record of 18. But now at 39, and his game suffering, it’s difficult to foresee him winning even one more title.

Truth is, nobody can be certain how competitive Woods can even be next week. The former No. 1 player in the world now ranks 104th.

“I think he probably just feels that he needs to get back out there,” Haney said before Woods’ announcement. “I can’t imagine what it would be like for him to miss the Masters again. Put it this way: If he doesn’t play, it really says something about the state of his game. Then you’d really have a story. But I think he’ll play. I can’t see him going to the Champions Dinner (next Tuesday) and saying, ‘I’m here but I’m not playing.’”

Haney worked with Woods for six years before an acrimonious split and has been outspoken about the player’s decreased work ethic and the flaws in his game. He doesn’t believe Woods will ever get back to the playing level of earlier in his career but still thinks he’s capable of competing in majors and winning tournaments.

“The one thing I always come back to is: He’s Tiger Woods. He can find something.”

Woods hasn’t played in a tournament since pulling out after 11 holes of the Farmers Insurance Open February. He has struggled with back pain for the past year, as well as other injuries.

When asked why Woods would delay confirming his entry in the Masters until Friday, Haney said: “That’s just the way he plays it. He plays it close to the vest. He probably feels there’s no reason for him to announce it at this point. In his mind, he’s thinking, ‘I’m a past champion. I’m always going to play.’ That’s how he thinks. And look at the publicity he’s getting by not saying anything. So in his mind, why not just go out there, see how you feel, see how your game is. It’s just the way he’s always done it.”


Some recent ramblings from the digital jukebox
— AJC: Braves’ deal for Trevor Cahill illustrates concerns about rotation
— MyAJC: Real news would be Tiger Woods making shots
— AJC: Tiger Woods’ plane in Augusta but status for Masters still uncertain
— AJC: Are Braves really second-worst team in majors (thank you, Philly)?
— AJC: Falcons will pay appropriate penalties for dumb decision
— MyAJC: Paul Millsap: The 6-8 kid who couldn’t dunk now leading Hawks
— AJC: Hawks clinch East, act like it’s no big deal (which is probably good)
— MyAJC: NBA needs to curtail resting of players
— AJC: Will Falcons, others avoid losing draft picks this year?
— MyAJC: Basketball is where Georgia State’s focus should be
— AJC: New reality at Georgia State: What Ron Hunter wants, he gets
— MyAJC: Hawks get drilled, and concerns may be growing
— MyAJC: Georgia better but still not where it needs to be
— AJC: Mark Fox returns subtle fire at Brian Gregory before tournament
— MyAJC: Gregory knows he needs to make most of his extended lifeline
— AJC: Gregory says he gave Izzo ‘everything’ he has on Georgia
— AJC: Timing is everything, as Tech keeps Gregory
— AJC: Tech expected to keep Gregory, but former coach (Hewitt) fired again
— MyAJC: Column on Quinn, Dimitroff defending moves, philosophy
— AJC: Exclusive: Q&A with Quinn, Dimitroff on Falcons’ moves
— MyAJC: Tech’s candidate pool may be thin if Gregory fired
— AJC: Tech’s decision on Brian Gregory tougher than you might think
— MyAJC: Georgia erratic but ceiling high in tournament
— AJC: NCAA tourney: Dogs should be in, Panthers must do a little more
— MyAJC: Georgia State at center of state’s hoops’ rebirth

Reader Comments 0

34 comments
TreeRollins
TreeRollins

He just got offered an endorsement deal in Augusta with Perkins restaurants.

PeteMTL
PeteMTL

5.5 million in ATL and all we have is the lousy AJC. Has to be one of the worst newspapers in the US. And that website ???? Eurk !

ATLTRUE
ATLTRUE

Did Tiger sleep with your girlfriends...really? Some of you people are sick LOSERS and I cannot wait until he shuts you up!

Wilbo
Wilbo

@ATLTRUE I don't think Tiger will sleep w you, honey. Sorry.


And when you take them 'roids away, a person's performance can really change. Peepee on Tiger, man is washed up & gone...

GT71
GT71

Who gives a crap if Tiger Woods plays or not.  I mean, except for the AJC.  Seems there are many good citizens of ATL who will only read about 'golf' or watch 'golf' if their hero is playing.  Otherwise, it's the NBA only.


MaxMose
MaxMose

is tiger's private jet still at the airport in augusta??? if so, is it being guarded 24/7???

You know Schultz, do you not have anything else to write about? The guy quit being relevant when he stop chewing 60 milligrams of oxy everyday and beating his wife.


Why don't you do us a favor, how about one of those good old MIchael Sams aritcles.


That is right up your alley.

Wilbo
Wilbo

This is the best post I have ever read in the AJC.


This simpering stooge, Schultz and his dim witted cohort, Bradley just barely have the good sense to put their underwear on right side out, and this dummkopf in particular wouldn't know a fresh interesting subject if he fell into it like a reckless rat running across the seat of a well used outhouse.

GT71
GT71

@Wilbo  And yours would be the 2nd best post in the AJC.

The AJC - worst paper in America.

And their website still sux badly.

RickinWarnerRobins
RickinWarnerRobins

Who gives a flying flip???  Woods is not relevant anywhere but in the news media and only because he's black.  He's a has-been.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@RickinWarnerRobins   He is relevant to the Golf Channel, the other PGA players and the tournament organizers and their charities.  He is not quite a has-been but he is on the right road and going above the speed limit.

joeintucker
joeintucker

Any pools yet as to how long he last? I have 11th hole on the first round.

read this
read this

Just don't go for a "Hole in One" you've already had one of those......remember 

Wilbo
Wilbo

@OH IO


Got a man crush on Tiger, little fella?

GetBackJojo
GetBackJojo

I give him until Thursday, when he sees he's not going to make the cut, that he grabs his back, and drops to his knees, then leaves the course, and gets on his $30 million Gulfstream, and jets off to where ever losers go.

Jan2737
Jan2737

Save breaking news bullentin for important stuff

TreadLightly
TreadLightly

This is breaking news???? Tiger will play the Masters!!

Wow just wow...........

RexHavoc
RexHavoc

One of the greatest players of all time.  Not so great now.  Golf REALLY needs a new superstar for the game to renew interest.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@RexHavoc  Well I would have said it would have been Rory McElroy until I saw him last week.  He did a 'David Duval' on his body and he will never be the same until he gets his golf body back.  You gotta study history and don't repeat those mistakes.

Lawrence J
Lawrence J

Me on Woods.............................DON'T CARE!!!!

Bogey
Bogey

Write it down.....IF Tiger continues to suffer with the chipping yips (and no course on earth will expose lack of confidence in that area of the game for ANY player more than Augusta National), then plan on seeing him grab his back at some point during the first round...WD.


I've always admired Tiger's game, but not the person.  I have "enjoyed" the yips for years and wouldn't wish them on anyone, but I do know that once you have them....you got 'em.  He might find different ways to mask them or minimize their effect short term, but they're always lurking and come out when THEY want to.  And when you're Tiger Woods, the embarrassment and frustration will be huge.


Sadly for golf....Tiger is done.