Tiger Woods just beat Michael Strahan in a putting contest. I’m going to assume this won’t have a profound impact on Masters odds, which currently has Woods at 125-1 to win the tournament in less than three weeks.
Woods appeared on Good Morning America Monday. When you’re Tiger Woods, it doesn’t matter that you have a wonky back and haven’t won a major in nine years (2008 U.S. Open) or a PGA Tour event since in four (2013 Bridgestone Invitational), that’s news. So here’s what we learned on Good Morning America:
• Woods remains strong enough on the greens to beat Michael Strahan in a 30-second putting contest Monday. (Strahan, the NFL Hall of Famer, is a GMA co-host.)
• Woods maintains hope he will still be able to play in the upcoming Masters (April 6-9), even though back spasms forced him to withdraw after the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic Feb. 2. He has been unable to play in any tournament since, pulling out of three.
Personally, I’d love for Woods to show up in Augusta. He stirs interest, at least for as long as he’s upright, and often even when he’s not. Whether he wins, loses or fires tee shots off trees and into pine straw, he’s one of the most fascinating athletes of our generation.
But it’s difficult to imagine him making it through four rounds in his physical condition, or even two, let alone making it onto the leader board or winning.
When asked by Strahan on the possibility of playing in the Masters, Woods said: ““God, I hope so. I’m trying. I’m trying everything to be able to get back and play. I love that event. It’s meant so much to me in my life. It’s the first major I ever played back in ’95. It has so much history and meaning to me, I’d love to get back.”
More: “I need to get back physically. The mind is sharp. I just need to get the body willing to do it. That’s the hard part, is getting the prep time in. I haven’t been able to get as much prep time in, haven’t been able to train like I used to, practice like I used to, so it’s been harder. and My priorities have changed a lot. My kids now dominate my life, and I think that’s a good thing.”
Woods’ agent disputed a Golf Digest report last Friday saying that Woods was “doubtful” for Masters, saying no decision had been made.
Woods has won four Masters, the last in 2005. This year’s tournament will be the 20th anniversary of his first Green Jacket in 1997, when he burned the Augusta National course with an 18-under-270 and won by 12 strokes over Tom Kite. He was 21 years old. But that was a long time ago.
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