Phil Mickelson will miss The Masters for the first time since 1994 next month, live on Sky Sports, but could we see Tiger Woods made an unlikely comeback at Augusta National?
Mickelson’s name has been removed from the list of competitors for the opening men’s major of the year, with the three-time recipient of the Green Jacket listed as a “past champion not playing” on the tournament’s website.
Some 86 players are currently listed as invitees to the 86th edition of The Masters, with Woods still among those down to compete from April 7-10 despite not featuring in an official PGA Tour event since his last Augusta National appearance in November 2020.
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Woods is an automatic qualifier as a past champion, with his 2019 success his fifth Masters victory and 15th major title, while his name still being on the current list of competing players has fuelled speculation about whether the former world No 1 is close to making a sensational return.
The 46-year-old has gone through extensive rehabilitation since suffering serious leg injuries in a car crash last February, two months on from undergoing further surgery on his back, with Woods’ latest recovery being followed closely by the golfing world.
Woods was seen hitting driver on the range during his role as tournament host at December’s Hero World Challenge, with the 82-time PGA Tour winner then impressing when playing alongside his son, Charlie, at the PNC Championship later that month.
Although Woods has already stated he will be at Augusta to attend the annual Champions’ Dinner on the Tuesday of tournament week, he was non-committal on the possibility of a playing return when interviewed at last month’s Genesis Invitational.
Tiger Woods says he doesn’t know when he’ll be able to return to competitive action as he continues his rehabilitation following his car accident last year
“I don’t know,” Woods said when asked about competing come Thursday at The Masters. “I’ll be there Tuesday and it will be a great dinner – I don’t know what kind of sushi we are going to have!”
There is still a strong possibility that Woods may not feature at Augusta National, 25 years on from winning his maiden major at the venue, with just over two weeks for him to decide whether his game is ready to return.
Every day that Woods’ name remains on the invitees’ list, the golfing world will get more excited that Tiger’s return is edging closer.