Tiger Woods during a practice session.© AFP

Tiger Woods plans to play the 86th Masters starting Thursday at Augusta National, making an incredible return to competition 14 months after suffering severe right leg injuries in a car crash. “As of right now, I am going to play,” Woods said. The 15-time major champion plans to play a nine-hole practice round on Wednesday and will make a final decision after seeing how his body recovers from that effort.

“It’s a matter of how my body is going to recover and what my body is able to do the next day,” said Woods, who has played nine-hole practice rounds the past two days.

Woods said he feels that he can win a sixth Masters title this week to match the all-time record held by Jack Nicklaus despite not having played since the 2020 Masters, played in November that year due to Covid-19.

“I can hit it just fine,” Woods said. “I don’t have any qualms about what I can do golf-wise. Walking is the hard part.”

Woods was hospitalized for weeks and unable to walk for months after a car crash in February 2021. He later said he was lucky to have survived and to have escaped with both of his legs.

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“That was a tough road,” Woods said. “To say I was going to be here playing… I would have said very unlikely.”

Woods plans to make his 24th Masters start. The 46-year-old US star tested his ability to walk the hilly course last week, serving notice that an epic comeback was possible.

On Sunday, Woods tweeted that it would be a “game-time decision” as to whether or not he would play this week.

Woods tested himself with practice rounds Sunday and Monday, the latter before thousands of supportive fans in the first full session for spectators at Augusta National since 2019, when Woods won an astonishing title to complete a comeback from spinal fusion surgery.

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