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Tiger Woods got a break in his return to the Masters that could help his ailing body

Cork Gaines   

Tiger Woods got a break in his return to the Masters that could help his ailing body
  • Tiger Woods is back at the Masters this week looking for his sixth green jacket.
  • Woods' biggest obstacle may be his own health, as he's has a hard time walking long distances.

Tiger Woods is back at the Masters looking for his sixth green jacket, and he already caught a big break even before his first shot.

Woods teed off in the first round at 10:18 am ET on Thursday, and that's ideal for the 47-year-old.

The morning tee time isn't so early that he had to rush to the course. It also means Tiger will likely finish his first round before the expected afternoon rain showers.

However, most importantly, the early tee time means Woods will tee off as one of the last groups on Friday — at 1:24 pm ET. That gives Woods and his ailing body extra time to recover after the opening round.

Woods has had several surgeries on his back, including fused vertebrae, and that was before he nearly lost his leg in a scary car accident. In 2021, Woods was driving an SUV before a tournament when he lost control and rolled off the road.

Before the tournament, Woods spoke during a press conference about how endurance has been his biggest challenge since the car accident.

"The ability and endurance of what my leg will do going forward will never be the same, I understand that," Woods said, later adding: "I just have to be cognizant of how much I can push it. Like Rory was saying, I can hit a lot of shots, but the difficulty for me is going to be the walking going forward. It is what it is. I wish it could be easier. I've got three more years, where I get the little buggy and be out there with Fred, but until then, no buggy."

Jack Nicklaus recently revealed that Woods plans to play on golf's senior tour, the PGA Tour Champions, when he turns 50. That tour allows players to use buggies, or golf carts, in non-majors.

Rory McIlroy, looking for his first win at the Masters to complete the career Grand Slam, echoed the sentiment, noting that the only thing holding Woods' game back now is the walking.

"If he didn't have to walk up these hills and have all of that, I'd say he'd be one of the favorites," McIlroy said in a pre-tournament press conference. "He's got all of the shots. It's just that physical limitation of walking 72 holes, especially on a golf course as hilly as this. But again, as we all know, we never count Tiger out, and he can do incredible things."

Woods' biggest opponent this week might be his own body, but the tee times will also ensure he has a chance to battle the course.

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