The Masters: Can Tiger Woods reach historic heights with winning comeback at Augusta National?
Woods said in his pre-tournament press conference: "As of right now, I feel like I am going to play." Watch the 86th Masters throughout the week exclusively live on Sky Sports Golf, starting with the Par-3 contest on Wednesday from 7pm
By Ali Stafford at Augusta National
Last Updated: 06/04/22 8:56am
Tiger Woods insists he would not be making his long-awaited comeback at The Masters if he didn’t believe he could secure his 16th major title at Augusta National.
The former world No 1 ended weeks of speculation and hype by confirming in Tuesday's pre-tournament press conference that he intended to play in the opening men's major of the year.
Woods' appearance comes 17 months on from his previous official PGA Tour start at the 2020 Masters, with the five-time recipient of the Green Jacket ready to return for the first time since last February's career-threatening car crash.
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Asked if he thinks he can win make a winning return to action this week, the world No 973 confidently told the media: "I do. The fact that I was able to get myself here at this point was a success and now that I am playing, everything is focused on getting in that position on the back nine on Sunday with a chance like I did a few years ago.
"I feel like I can still do it. I still have the hands to do it, the body is moving good enough. I have been in worse situations and won tournaments. Now, I haven't been in situations like this where I've had to walk and endure what I'm going to try and endure, that's going to be different.
"But my back surgeries that I've had before and the stuff I had to play through, even going back to the US Open when my leg was a little bit busted, those are all times that I can draw upon where I was successful, how I've learned to block things out and focus on what I need to focus on.
"I love competing and I feel like if I can still compete at the highest level, I'm going to, and if I feel like I can still win, I'm going to play. But if I feel like I can't, then you won't see me out here. You guys know me better than that.
"I don't show up to an event unless I think I can win it. So that's the attitude I've had. There will be a day when it won't happen, and I'll know when that is, but physically the challenge this week is I don't have to worry about the ball striking or the game of golf, it's actually just the hills out here.
"That's going to be the challenge, and it's going to be a challenge of a major marathon."
Woods "the master of under promise"
The 2019 champion only confirmed he intended to play The Masters in his pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday, with Woods still planning to play more practice holes on Wednesday before finalising his decision.
Woods' entry in the field comes just weeks after admitting to being unsure on when he'd return to competitive golf, with former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley hailing the former world No 1's determination to get back in time for Augusta National.
"Of course he's said he's there to win," McGinley told Sky Sports News. "Tiger's always said that throughout his career. He's the master of under promise, over deliver.
"Only a mere six weeks ago at the Genesis Invitational he dampened everybody's spirits saying how long a haul he had back and nobody expected to see him here. Obviously in the last week now, the speculation has grown, finishing with today when he has said he is pretty much looking forward to playing.
"We all welcome him. He's a great addition back into the field. [A win] would be on another level from anything in sport. This guy nearly lost his leg - it was touch and go for a couple of days that his leg might have to be amputated - that's how serious the accident was.
"To go from that place where he was a mere 14 months ago to where he is now, going to tee it up again in a major championship, it says a lot for his determination and also the skills of the doctors to get him to the place that he is after such a serious injury."
Could Tiger make more Masters history?
This year's contest is the 25th anniversary of Woods' maiden major success, with his 12-shot victory in 1997 remaining the largest winning margin in the history of The Masters.
Woods won back-to-back editions from 2001 and also won the 2005 contest, before famously completing a previous comeback from injury by securing the Green Jacket for a fifth time in 2019, with the 46-year-old now looking for a 16th major title.
"Brilliant news number one, I just really hope he can physically get round," Dame Laura Davies told Sky Sports News. "I would never back against Tiger Woods.
"I believe he believes he can win it and I certainly believe he can win the tournament come Sunday, as long as his body holds up, because his game has never been in question has it?
"He had a problem with his chipping once about three or four years ago and even now he has come back stronger, so a Masters tournament is much better with Tiger in it.
"You imagine Sunday night, he puts another Green Jacket on, it would just be unbelievable really. If he wins this I can't think of any bigger achievement in any sport - maybe (Tom) Brady if he carries on for a few more years, winning eight, nine, 10 Super - but this would be something special."
How will Tiger Woods perform at The Masters? Watch his opening round live on Thursday exclusively live on Sky Sports Golf. Coverage begins with Featured Groups from 2pm.