Another major tournament is nearly upon us, and once again, speculation is swirling over whether or not one golfer in particular will show up and play. Of course, it's not just any golfer. It's Tiger Woods, the 14-time major champion who owns four green jackets. And it's not just any major. It's the Masters. And it's not just any Masters, but the 20th anniversary of Woods's first triumph at Augusta, when the then 21-year-old embarrassed the best players in the world, winning by 12 shots.
Tiger’s presence at the 2017 Masters has been in doubt for some time. Back spasms forced him to withdraw from the Dubai Desert Classic in early February. Then came the announcement that he was skipping three Tour events that he was scheduled to play thanks to continuing back trouble.
Now hints and rumors are suggesting we may see Tiger on the course next week after all. On Thursday afternoon, Augusta National sent a press release with next week's schedule of pre-tournament press conferences, and guess whose name is penciled in for Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. ET? Tiger Woods.
While this isn't proof that Woods will play, it does raise some eyebrows given other rumors that have been passed around on the Internet this week. On Monday, Tiger's apparel scripting for the tournament was allegedly leaked online.
On Tuesday, Brandel Chamblee fueled the speculation further, saying he'd heard Tiger was practicing hard with his coach to prepare for the event. "If you can believe anything that you read on social media, I know that his coach (Chris Como) has been down there and they have been hitting a lot of golf balls down in Palm Beach," Chamblee said during a pre-Masters teleconference Tuesday. "So the way I understand it, he's been practicing quite diligently. It wouldn't surprise me if Tiger showed up at Augusta National."
None of this, nor any other unsubstantiated rumor lurking on Twitter, tells us definitively whether or not he will compete in the Masters next week. (You can give your opinion on the matter in our Twitter poll below). And unlike a normal PGA Tour event, Woods has every right to wait until the last minute to announce his decision.
But it's safe to say we and most fans would love to see him there. And we're not alone. Some Tour pros are also patiently awaiting the decision, like Steven Bowditch.