What does Tiger’s return mean for the Masters?



Tiger Woods recently announced that he would be playing in the year’s Masters tournament, a little over one year after he was in a major car accident resulting in multiple injuries.


Is there some unknown deep-seated hatred toward March Madness from some of our biggest athletes? NFL quarterback Tom Brady stole the spotlight from Selection Sunday when he announced his surprising un-retirement and return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for one more season. And now this past Saturday, on the day of the Final Four, golf superstar Tiger Woods made headlines when he announced that he would be a game-time decision for playing in this weekend’s Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. 

Of course, I am kidding. But it does seem that athletes around the world are jealous that college basketball gets a whole month dedicated to them. And never mind that the term “game-time decision” has never been used to describe a golf player. 

Tiger’s comments may seem a bit like he’s trying to lead us on. One could say it’s a conspiracy by the Masters brass to drum up interest in their annual tournament. It’s not an unsubstantiated theory considering Tiger’s previous win at the tournament in 2019 drew 10.81 million viewers, while last year’s tournament without him attracted 9.45 million. 

But even if Tiger participates in this year’s tournament (which is getting more and more likely by the day), will he be able to compete for his sixth green jacket? It’s only been 13 months since he was injured in a brutal car accident that resulted in substantial damage to his right leg, along with other minor injuries. You never know how Tiger will play these days. He’s had on and off results at tournaments over the years, with some missed cuts and some wins. 

This year’s prestigious event is packed to the brim with previous tournament winners and highly-decorated stars. Since Tiger’s relative demise over the years due to injuries, golf has seen a surge in parity. Every tournament has at least a dozen names with an equal chance of winning, and The Masters will be no different. 

Cameron Smith and World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler are the ones at the top of the betting odds. Each has been surging at the smaller tournaments over the past few months but hasn’t had much success in the majors. On the opposite side sits Brooks Koepka, who seems to always overperform when the lights are brightest. He’s finished in the Top 10 twelve times in the past 16 major tournaments, including four victories. 

The previous World No. 1, Jon Rahm, is a beacon of consistency, as he’s finished in the Top 10 in each of his previous four Masters. The same goes for Tony Finau. He’s had a bit of a rough stretch these past few months but could make the necessary adjustments before this weekend. 

The one fan-favorite who will not be playing this year is three-time winner Phil Mickelson, who’s still embroiled in controversy over his actions and comments over the previous months. Apart from his surprise PGA Championship win last year, Phil hasn’t been as competitive as he used to be, so it’s not like this weekend’s event lost one of its top contenders. It’ll be interesting to see who will don the coveted green jacket this Sunday. I could quadruple the length of this article and still leave off quite a few names worth mentioning. It just goes to show that there isn’t a better tournament out there to get golf back on the menu for sports fans around the world.