Tiger Woods at the Masters: “It Will Be A Game-Time Decision”

Woods also played a practice round last week at Augusta National.

The 15-time major champion has a reputation for willing himself to victory under the most challenging circumstancesand based on his swings on Sunday, he has regained a semblance of his golf prowess. But playing at Augusta National, a lengthy course known for its unforgiving elevation changescould be a daunting challenge. On Wednesday, in a conference call with reporters, Curtis Strange, the two-time U.S. Open champion who is now a golf analyst for ESPN, called Augusta National “the hardest walk in golf.”

Another two-time winner of the U.S. Open, Andy North, who is also an ESPN commentator, said he thought the British Open would be a likely place to return to competition for Woods because this year’s venue — St. Andrews — is “flat and it’s an easy walk.”

“Augusta is the last place you would have thought he could possibly play,” North said.

But Woods, who won his first Masters title 25 years ago, in 1997, has carefully managed expectations — of the golf world and, perhaps, of his own — for a return to the tour at several points since the crash.

In mid-February, before the Genesis Invitational, Woods said in a news conference that he had worked mostly on chipping, putting and short irons, but had not spent time “seriously” on his long game because of his right leg.

“I’m still working on the walking part,” Woods said then. “My foot was a little messed up there about a year ago, so the walking part is something that I’m still working on, working on strength and development in that. It takes time. What’s frustrating is it’s not at my timetable. I want to be at a certain place, but I’m not. I’ve just got to continue working. I’m getting better, yes. But as I said, not at the speed and rate that I would like.”