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Tiger Woods is on player list for The Masters, but golfer’s longtime friend says there is concern over him walking 72 holes

<i>Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Tiger Woods waits on the first green during the second round of The Genesis Invitational.
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
Tiger Woods waits on the first green during the second round of The Genesis Invitational.

By Ben Morse, CNN

(CNN) — Tiger Woods is on the player list for The Masters later this month, but according to a longtime friend of the 15-time major champion there are concerns regarding the physical challenge of navigating 72 holes over four days.

Ever since his serious car crash in 2021 in which he suffered severe leg injuries, Woods has battled myriad ailments as he attempts to remain competitive.

“He’s trying to formulate a strategy and approach that he can work within given the constraints that he’s presented with. And he’s got some constraints,” Woods’ friend Notah Begay III told a conference call on Wednesday, according to USA Today.

“He’s got zero mobility in that left ankle and really has low-back challenges now, which he knew he was going to have.”

CNN has reached out to Woods’ representatives for comment.

Following the car crash three years ago, Woods had an operation to fuse his ankle in 2023. He admitted afterwards that his recovery took its toll.

“It’s six months of doing nothing,” reflected Woods. “That’s the hard part. The first couple months were really rough.”

Such has been the extent of his injuries, the 15-time major champion has switched to FootJoy shoes for additional ankle support.

It is still not confirmed whether Woods will play at next week’s Masters, but Begay believes he will do everything in his power to do so if healthy enough.

According to Sports Illustrated, Woods played Augusta National last weekend with friend and PGA Tour peer Justin Thomas and club chairman Fred Ridley.

“For the past couple months, he’s been trying to find a way to recover,” Begay said. “He can play the golf. We always knew the question was going to be: ‘Can he walk the 72 (holes)?’ That’s still up in the air. But can he recover, from one round to the next?

“That’s the biggest question that I really don’t know and he’s not going to know either until he gets out there and figures out whether the way he’s prepared for this year’s Masters is going to work for him.”

Begay, a roommate of Woods at Stanford University, won four PGA Tour events before the age of 28 and achieved the “holy grail” of golf – a round of 59 in a professional event – before a debilitating back injury put paid to his hopes of building on that early promise.

Making the cut in 23 consecutive starts

The 48-year-old has prioritised appearances at the four major championships in his sporadic competitive appearances in recent years.

Woods made his first appearance on the PGA Tour this year in February at the Genesis Invitational – an event he hosts. However, the return didn’t last long.

After admitting he had been suffering from back spasms during the first round, Woods withdrew during the second round, saying he was dealing with influenza.

The Masters, an event Woods has won five times, begins on Thursday, April 11 at Augusta National. If he does play the tournament, it would be his 26th appearance at Augusta.

Woods played at last year’s Masters, before withdrawing through injury ahead of the third round.

Golf great Jack Nicklaus has won a record six green jackets. According to the PGA Tour, Woods has made the cut in 23 consecutive starts at Augusta, a record he shares with Fred Couples and Gary Player.

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