2022 Masters: Why Tiger Woods Decided to Play, and Seven Green Jackets

Tiger Woods, The Masters,Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-Augusta Chronicle/USA TODAY Sports
Tiger Woods, The Masters,Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-Augusta Chronicle/USA TODAY Sports /

We have all wondered why Tiger Woods is doing this to himself, putting himself through pain to play golf.  He doesn’t need to financially, so far as we know.  But he may be still chasing majors and records.  He’s already tied Sam Snead’s total of 82 PGA Tour victories.  With one more, he beats everybody. He’s the king of the mountain.

In addition, it appears that he’s still chasing the major record held by Jack Nicklaus, at least according to what Nicklaus said about his end of their conversation at the Champions dinner in an interview on Golf Channel.

Tiger Woods is still chasing records

First of all, after Tiger Woods’ second round at the Masters, he gave a status report. He said he expected to be sore, and he was.

“It’s the combination,” he said to the media. “I can walk this golf course. I can put on tennis shoes and go for a walk. That’s not a problem, but going ballistically at shots and hitting shot shapes off of uneven lies, that puts a whole new challenge to it.”

He also said that was why he flew up to Augusta last week to test whether he could walk the course and play golf on it and recover, which is what everyone suspected when his visit occurred.

“I played Sunday nine, Monday nine,” he explained after round two about this week’s schedule. “I was going to take Tuesday off regardless of the rain that was coming in. Again, get the feel of the golf course come Wednesday, and let’s go Thursday.”

Tiger Woods said he is kind of like the vehicle in a NASCAR team where he breaks himself, and his team fixes him.

“I was hoping I didn’t have any setbacks along the way where I couldn’t go, but I didn’t have any setbacks. Everything has been good, has been tough,” he added. “After I go ahead and break it out there, they go ahead and repair it at night.”

He has cited ice baths as part of the routine.

Woods noted that he did have to make major swing compensations because his ankle is not going to move the way it used to.

“I got rods and plates and pins and screws and a bunch of different things in there,” he explained. “The more important thing is the ankle is always going to be an issue, but more importantly, if I play golf ballistically, it’s going to be the back. It’s fused. So, it’s the levels above and below that are going to take the brunt of it.”

Tiger Woods said he can’t push off and can’t rotate the way he used to be able to do.

“Fortunately, I’m still generating enough speed,” he added. “My ball speed is at 175-ish when I hit it good, so that puts shearing on the back. I already had back issues going into this, and now this kind of just compounds it a little bit.”

More. 2022 Masters: Stewart Cink Creates Magic On 16. light

While he said a few days ago that he thought he could win the Masters, after Friday’s round he reemphasized that intention.  While Scottie Scheffler is leading, Woods certainly isn’t giving him the tournament title.

“Tomorrow is going to be an important day with as cool and as tough as they’re predicting,” he noted. “If you’re within five or six on that back nine going into Sunday, you’ve got a chance. So, I just need to get there.”

He knows how many meltdowns have occurred on the back nine on Sunday.

Now according to Jack Nicklaus, it seems Tiger Woods may still be chasing the major championship record.

Nicklaus said they sit next to each other at the Champions dinner, giving them a perfect opportunity to talk. He also provided some highlights of their conversations.

First of all, Nicklaus said he was surprised Woods picked the Masters as his first tournament back because it is such a hard walk. Everyone who has been there knows that.

Then Woods outlined his thinking. He told Nicklaus that, if he waits a year, he’ll be another year older. In athlete’s terms, that’s potentially another year for his skills to diminish, and any athlete is sensitive to that.

In addition, Tiger Woods’ doctors told him that he’s going to hurt this year, but he may also hurt next year. So, Woods asked himself, why wait.  If it’s going to hurt now and later, why not start now.

At some point in the conversation, Nicklaus assured Woods that he had no problem with Tiger Woods tying the record he had of six green jackets.

“I told him, ‘Tiger, I’ll be rooting for you to win number six. But if you win, I’m not rooting for seven!’” Nicklaus said.

Seven titles would break Nicklaus’ record of six.

“Nobody ever wants anybody to surpass their record,” Nicklaus admitted pleasantly. “However, if somebody comes along and they break your record  — well done.  They just did it better than you did it, and that’s ok.”

Next. Tiger Effect Torments the Best at Augusta. dark

Whether Woods gets to six Masters titles or seven or stays at five forever, it has been inspirational to see how hard he has worked to be able to play golf again.  If he never wins another tournament, his story is the stuff of legends.