Defiant Tiger Woods sizing up a sixth Green Jacket

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AUGUSTA – A defiant Tiger Woods refused to be put out to Augusta National pasture on April 9, insisting that he was more focused on a sixth Masters Green Jacket than taking on the role of ceremonial starter or any other job that is not winning tournaments.

Ravaged by injuries that have limited the 15-time Major champion to one PGA Tour start this season that lasted just 24 holes, Woods has always maintained he would never enter a tournament he did not believe he could win and stands by that even in the face of long odds.

Some reporters at his pre-Masters press conference, which struck a retirement vibe, were not as convinced. The 48-year-old was asked, given his laundry list of fitness issues, if he was contemplating joining Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson as Masters ceremonial starters or taking on the role of Ryder Cup captain.

He brushed off both suggestions, making it clear he was focused on the here and now.

“If everything comes together, I can get one more (Green Jacket),” Woods said with a look that dared anyone to say he could not.

“Do I need to describe that any more than that, or are we good? I still think that I can. I haven’t got to that point where I don’t think I can’t.”


The declaration seemed to lack the conviction of the past but there is little doubt Woods believes he can defy the odds as he has done so many times before, particularly at the Masters.

The American has made a career of proving doubters wrong, as he did in 2019 when he returned from spinal fusion surgery to win a fifth Green Jacket.

He made another miraculous return in 2022, coming back from a near fatal car crash that almost resulted in the amputation of his right leg to keep his run of Masters made cuts alive.

Woods has never missed a Masters cut as a professional and this week could extend his streak to a tournament record 24 after tying Player and Fred Couples in 2023.

Couples, who practised with Woods on April 9, confirmed that his friend is not in Augusta looking to just break records.

“The idea of making a cut, I think he would laugh at that,” he said.

“He’s here to win. Can he win here? You know what, yeah.”


While he has high ambitions, Woods has also made no secret of the pain he plays with and the gruelling preparations needed before each round just to get out on the course. Still recovering from ankle surgery last April, the big questions hanging over him are can he will his battered body through four rounds on one of golf's more demanding layouts and why continue to put himself through such pain?

“I hurt every day, I ache every day,” said Woods, smiling.

“Every shot not on the tee box is a challenge. But I love golf. I love competing and I love that feeling when everything’s on fire with a chance to win and either you do or you don’t.” 

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