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Tiger Woods Comeback

Newsman: The Masters, Tiger Woods made his long-awaited return to the PGA Tour at the 2022 Masters Tournament on Thursday, showing signs of the Tiger of old, highlighted by a late-round fist pump. Woods finished 1-under 71 on the day, finishing four strokes behind the Sungjae Im.

On Tuesday, news conference in which five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods indicated that he plans on participating this year.

The annual tournament in Augusta, Ga., has been a focal point for Woods’ career. Not even a year into his first PGA Tour, he won the Masters in 1997 at age 21. He followed that up with back-to-back wins in 2001 and 2002.

“As the round built, I was able to get into the red, got out of there, got to even par but made two stupid mistakes at eight, back-to-back,” Tiger Woods told ESPN after the round. “Loss of concentration a little bit there. But I fought back, and for the day to end up in the red, I’m right where I need to be.”

Tiger. Woods was hospitalized in the aftermath of a single-car wreck on February 23, 2021, and authorities have officially ruled it an accident.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department issued a statement after the pro athlete was “extricated from the wreck with the ‘jaws of life’ by Los Angeles County firefighters and paramedics” when his vehicle flipped over several times. The car “sustained major damage” and Woods’ manager later told Golf Digest that he “suffered multiple leg injuries.” The California native was the only passenger in the car.

During a press conference at the time, more details about the crash and Woods’ condition were revealed. Authorities noted that the golf champ was conscious when first responders arrived at the scene, asserting that there was “no evidence of impairment.”

Los Angeles County sheriff Alex Villanueva added, “The first contact was with the center median, from there then crossed into the opposing lane of traffic, hit the curb, hit a tree, and there were several rollovers during that process.”

2009 car crash and subsequent sex scandal led to an extraordinary fall from grace for the superstar that was made only worse by a 2017 DUI arrest, which Woods blamed on mismanagement of his pain medication.

During Woods’ early successes, many had presumed it was only a matter of time before he would surpass legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major championship wins. But multiple injuries, personal turmoil and four back surgeries culminated in an almost 11-year title drought for Woods.

Then, in 2019, at age 43, he came from behind to stun the sports world, winning his 15th major title and fifth Masters. One Masters shy of Nicklaus. It was a comeback that Woods’ biographer, Jeff Benedict, told NPR could go down as one of the greatest in the history of sports.

“What he came back from is unprecedented because of just how far he’d fallen,” Benedict said. “This was one of the greatest athletes in history who had an incredibly precipitous fall that took him right out of the game. It turned his life upside down. And we all watched it. And then it culminated with a series of injuries that took him out of the sport entirely. People didn’t expect him to ever play again, let alone come back and do something like win the Masters.”

Woods, who teed off shortly after 11 a.m. ET, was welcomed by a rousing ovation from a large gallery as he prepared for his first shot on the par-4 first hole at Augusta National.

Woods nearly birdied the par-5 fifth hole that has given him trouble throughout his career at the Masters, but his 15-foot putt lipped out as he remained even through five holes. His first birdie of the day came on the par-3 sixth as he placed his tee shot roughly two feet from the hole, making the putt to move to 1-under and pull within one shot of the lead.

That changed when Woods bogeyed the par-5 eighth after being short of the green on his chip shot and long on his ensuing putt.

Woods saved par on the ninth after hitting into the pine straw, sitting tied for 17th at even par through nine holes. He was three stokes behind leader and playing partner Joaquin Niemann, who eagled the ninth to move to 3-under.

After a birdie on 13, Woods’ tee shot on 14 reached the trees. He recovered by placing his approach from the pine straw just over the green but missed his par putt for bogey.

The famous Tiger fist pump came on the 16th after he hit a near 30-foot putt to move to 1-under.

Woods pared the last two holes, draining an eight-footer on the 18th to finish the first round in the red at 1-under 71.

“I felt good,” Woods told ESPN. “The whole idea was to keep pushing but keep recovering, that’s the hard part is each and every night to recover. I’ve been doing that. My team has been incredible getting me ready. I figured once that adrenaline kicks in and we get fired up and I get into my own little world, I should be able to handle business.”

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