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PGA Championship 2022: Tiger Woods about his frustrating start

JOHN DEVER: Welcome back to the 2022 PGA Championship here at Southern Hills. We’re joined by Tiger Woods who opened with a 4-over par 74 today. Looked like a struggle out there. Did you hold it together? It’s not that bad a score.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I did not hit a lot of good iron shots. I drove it well, but my iron shots were not very good. I didn’t get the ball very close. I got off to a great start and didn’t keep it going. I really didn’t give myself any looks for birdie. I was struggling trying to get the ball on the green, and I missed quite a few iron shots both ways. It was a frustrating day.

Q. It looked like you tweaked something, looked like something was bothering you, and also, bunker shots, the ball came out hot —

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, yeah. All the bunker shots sort of came out hot. The sand is a lot faster than I thought it would be. Kind of been that way all week, especially if you get up in the areas where it’s not raked. I had a couple of those balls where it was in those areas. It’s like, is there a lot of sand here, is there not, how should I play it, and when you dig in with your feet you’re not in those areas where it’s raked. I feel like sometimes the sand — I’m guessing, and I guessed wrong.

Yeah, my leg is not feeling as good as I would like it to be. We’ll start the recovery process and get after it tomorrow.

Q. There were a few instances when you went iron off the tee when Rory and Jordan both hit driver. Was that always the strategy and when you see them do that, does it make you think, I’m pretty far back here?

TIGER WOODS: Well, it wouldn’t have been so far back if I would have hit the iron shot solid and put the ball in the fairway. I was playing to my spots, and those guys obviously have a different game plan. It’s just different.

The game is played very differently now, and it’s very aggressive. We were talking about it today, Joey and I, the days of the Lee Janzens and the Scott Simpsons and the Faldos of the world, playing that kind of golf is gone. You go out there and hit driver a lot, and if you have a hot week, you have a hot week and you’re up there.

The game is just different. It’s much more aggressive now, and I know that. But I was playing to my spots. If I would have hit the ball solidly on those two holes and put the ball in the fairway, I would have been fine. I would have had 9-iron, 8-iron in there. That’s not a big deal. But I didn’t do that. I put the ball in the rough over there on 4 and hit the tree on 9 and ended up hitting a 4-iron in there.

Q. When your leg is bothering you more than normal, how does it impact your swing? What does it do that you are not able to do the way you’d like?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I just can’t load it. Loading hurts, pressing off it hurts, and walking hurts, and twisting hurts. It’s just golf. I don’t play that, if I don’t do that, then I’m all right.

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US Masters 2022: Will Jon Rahm continue the Spanish tradition at Augusta?

We are in a week unlike any other in the entire year. When the gates of Augusta National Golf Club open in April, the entire golfing world goes into a trance for seven days, triggered by the uniqueness and simple beauty of this tournament. In Augusta, everything simply fits and the entire scenery seems perfectly coordinated, as if in a choreography that has been rehearsed for years. For this very reason – and because Augusta is Augusta – the US Masters is considered the most prestigious and important tournament of the year, even among players.

US Masters 2022 – Tee Times

That’s how Jon Rahm sees it, too. Although the Spaniard lost his first place in the world rankings to Scottie Scheffler a few weeks ago, the bookmakers still consider the 27-year-old to be the biggest contender for the title at the 2022 US Masters, and for good reason. For one thing, Rahm has always finished in the top 10 in his last four appearances at Augusta, and for another, this golf course has a very special Spanish aura about it. Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia have already won the Green Jacket, and now the next great Spaniard is to follow. But Jon Rahm is aware of the difficulty of this task, as he revealed at the press conference on Tuesday.

US Masters 2022: No major like any other

The Masters is unique. Not only because of its history, but also because it is the only major tournament that is played on the same course every year. Admittedly, the Augusta National Golf Club has made some minor changes to the course again this year, but anyone who has ever played the Masters can gauge exactly what to expect. Jon Rahm knows that, too: “It makes preparation a little easier. You can simulate the situations for different shots a little easier in practice than you can at the other three majors, when you play a new course every year,” says the world number two.

Based on this fact, but also on his strong results in recent years, the Spaniard considers himself well prepared for the coming week: “I know I can play well here and hopefully on Sunday I can be a little closer on the last nine holes than in recent years.”

Tiger Woods on US Master 2022: “I belive I can win!”

In addition to the beautiful golf course built by Perry Maxwell in 1937, it’s also the crowds of fans that make the tournament what it is today. For Rahm, the 2022 US Masters is unlike any other event. After limited crowds during the pandemic, they are returning to full capacity this year. And as if the anticipation wasn’t already high enough, Tiger Woods is also announcing his comeback for the same week. “We were on the 7 on Monday and Tiger was just playing the 2,” Rahm reports of his first impressions. “I’ve never seen such a big crowd on those two holes, even on a Sunday. There’s a lot more excitement in the air.”

Jon Rahm: “Justin Thomas is the only one who gets real tips from Tiger.”

If you want to hold your own at Augusta National Golf Club, you need a good mix of experience and your best golf game. Forty-two years ago, Seve Ballesteros became the first Spaniard to win the U.S. Masters, ushering in a small Spanish tradition that last continued in 2017 when Sergio Garcia won the Green Jacket. Jon Rahm knows about that tradition and would only be too happy to do his part:

“Since I’m the only Spanish player who is a Major champion but not a Masters champion, that would be something special. Hopefully I can be fourth on that list. There have been a lot of good Spanish stories here that I would like to add to.”

US Masters 2022: Hideki Matsuyama serves outrageous menu of Japanese cuisine

If Rahm can show his best game this week, he will undoubtedly be considered the top favorite. But the Masters wouldn’t be the Masters if even the best players in the world didn’t break a sweat in this setting. Experience is the be-all and end-all at Augusta. When Tiger Woods was about to play his first US Masters, then as an amateur, he got helpful tips from Seve Ballesteros about the condition of the greens and how best to master the difficult shots at Augusta. When asked if Rahm himself had ever asked Tiger for such tips, the Spaniard responded with a nice anecdote:

“Justin Thomas is the only one who gets real tips from Tiger. I asked him for tips once before, back in East Lake. He just turned around and said ‘it’s all about the feeling and just keep going’ and I stood there thinking ‘cool, thanks for that’. Then when I turned around he was standing next to JT telling him a whole dissertation.”

Even if Rahm can’t hope for any tips from Tiger, it should also be enough if he fully trusts his game; after all, it made him the best golfer in the world last year. And there’s one more thing to be hopeful about. Rahm has his biggest fan with him again this week for the 2022 US Masters. “My son Kepa was a lucky charm at the U.S. Open. He wasn’t there at the British Open, so I hope he makes it lucky again this time.”

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Will he play at The 2022 Masters? – Tiger Woods updates on participation

The past few days resembled an exciting thriller: Will Tiger Woods make his comeback at the 2022 Masters, yes or no? Hopes were dashed by a supposed tournament cancellation, only to return much bigger afterwards. Tiger Woods made it really exciting again a few days before the Masters week. Now Tiger Woods came forward on Twitter and declared that he will travel to Augusta.

Decision still to be made

“I will be heading up to Augusta today to continue my preparation and practice,” Tiger Woods wrote on the short message service Twitter on Sunday, but: “It will be a game-time decision on whether I compete.” So it is clear that the five-time Masters winner will indeed try to compete at the 86th Masters. But whether the 46-year-old’s state of health will allow it is the decisive factor.

Tiger tracking for days

More than a year ago, Tiger Woods was involved in a car accident. Since then, no one knew whether he would return to the golf course. A few days before the Masters week, hope sprouted that Tiger could make his comeback at the first Major of 2022. Despite an assumed tournament cancellation, he was still on the list of participating golfers.

Soon, numerous references to his participation in the Masters circulated on the internet. In addition to a recording of Tiger practising on his home course The Medialist under tournament conditions, another discovery made hearts beat faster: Tiger Woods’ private jet flew straight towards Augusta and the 82-time PGA Tour winner played a practice round at Augusta National. Fans now knew: The possibility of Tiger Woods making his comeback after more than a year at the 2022 Masters still exists!

On Sunday before Masters week, an official announcement from the superstar finally followed: Tiger Woods will travel to the 86th Masters and see if a start is possible shortly before the tournament begins. Since the US Masters is an invitation tournament with an elite field, he can afford to wait until the very end before the prestigious Major is played from 7 to 10 April.

Tiger Woods faced career end

Tiger Woods and the events of the tournament had been quiet for the past year. On 23 February 2021, the golf legend suffered serious injuries in a car accident and was in danger of losing his right leg. For months, Woods fought his way back to a life without a wheelchair and crutches. Whether he would ever return to the golf course was unclear. There were first hopes of a comeback in December 2021. Ten months after the devastating accident, Woods teed off together with his son Charlie at the PNC Championship.

However, it remained questionable whether Tiger Woods would ever be able to play a full PGA Tour tournament again. Since then, there has been much speculation about the legend’s comeback. When will it be? Will Woods even be able to return to the PGA Tour? Will his irrepressible ambition bring him back to the golf tournaments of this world?

A few weeks before the first major of 2022, the Masters Tournament in Augusta, disappointing news emerged: Woods ruled out a return at the 2022 Masters. With the decision to become the oldest Masters winner of all time, he would return to the Masters 2023 at the earliest. Shortly before the 2022 Masters, the turnaround followed and Woods decided that he wanted to compete in the world’s most famous golf tournament as early as this year. We will know in a few days whether it really works out.