The Masters is next weekend and suspense is already building around golf's biggest event. One big question surrounding the tournament is whether Tiger Woods will participate. On Wednesday, ESPN's Scott Van Pelt surmised it would completely alter they way the event is covered.
Van Pelt, Andy North and Curtis Strange participated in a conference call on Wednesday discussing the Masters, which begins on April 7. The trio was asked about Woods' potential participation and how it would impact the path of the coverage. Van Pelt was pretty emphatic:
Well, it changes everything. He’s the singular player in the sport. There’s people tracking his plane yesterday like it’s an SEC coaching search, and just the idea of him going up there and what’s going on and is he going to try, and if he plays, then that becomes its own lane of coverage. It’s Tiger. We all know what he is and what he represents, and if he’s going to try to play after what happened and the car accident — by the way, fellas, it’s not just him playing a tournament, it’s him playing the Masters Tournament. It would be quite something from a coverage standpoint.
Earlier in the press conference, Van Pelt had a great line about the focus on other golfers dimming if Woods shows up. He had the following exchange with Strange:
Van Pelt: "And yet I was texting with a player yesterday and joking that if Tiger plays you guys could play nude and no one would know you were there. And I’m kidding, obviously, but —"
Strange: "No, you're not."
We all know this to be true. Even at 46 and nearly two years from his last competitive tournament, no one moves the needle like Woods. Everyone wants to see Tiger back on a golf course and to see if he's healthy after the February 2021 car accident that nearly cost him his right leg. The Masters would be an incredible place for him to make his return to the sport.
Strange was excited at the prospect of Woods returning:
I guess my question was part of a Tiger — if Tiger plays. I’m so excited that he looks like he’s putting forth an effort to think about it and test his body. Is he going to play? We have no idea. But it looks like he’s testing himself, and that is a good thing, and how else would you test yourself other than to go walk and play and get up there and play some practice rounds and see if you can walk the golf course, see how the leg holds up, see how the game is.
North seemed amazed there was even a chance for Woods to make his comeback at Augusta, given what he's been through:
To be in this position where people are actually talking about this guy might actually play in the Masters, I think that’s amazing. I answered this question earlier; if he plays golf, where do you think he could possibly play, and it would seem maybe the Open Championship because it’s St. Andrews, it’s flat and it’s an easy walk. Augusta is the last place you would have thought he could possibly play. I think that we’re even considering this is amazing.
We still don't know if Woods will actually play at the Masters. That's just adding to the suspense in the lead up to the tournament. But you can bet everyone in golf media would be thrilled if he decides to play.