Tiger Woods hopeful of Masters start

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London

Tiger Woods “hopes” to play in the Masters at Augusta National in April after undergoing a fifth back surgery.

The 45-year-old American had a microdiscectomy to relieve a pressurised disc fragment in January.

Woods recovered from spinal fusion surgery in 2017 to win a 15th major at the 2019 Masters, but his participation in this year’s event – which begins on 8 April – is in the balance.

“I’m feeling fine – I’m a little stiff,” Woods told CBS Television. “I have one more MRI scheduled so we’ll see then if I can start doing more activities.

“I’m still in the gym, still doing the mundane stuff that you have to do for rehab; the little things where I can start gravitating toward something more.”

Asked if he would be at Augusta National in seven weeks, Woods replied: “I hope so,” before adding the results of his MRI scan would determine whether he would be able to fit in a warm-up event. Woods last played at the PNC Championship in December, where he felt “discomfort” in his back.

He won his fifth Masters title in 2019, more than a decade after his previous victory in a major. He jointly holds the record for most PGA Tour wins at 82 with Sam Snead and is three behind Jack Nicklaus’ mark of 18 major titles.—AP