At the Masters Tiger Woods will take with that a little ice

AUGUST, GA – Tiger Woods stood in the glorious sunlight of spring in Georgia one afternoon last week, keeping a dose of warmth ahead of the frosty, hellish hours ahead.

“Lots of treatments, lots of ice, lots of ice baths, I just froze to death,” Woods said of his plans before the next throw at Augusta National Golf Club. “It’s just part of the deal.”

A rare athlete whose medical history has been more thoroughly studied and documented – by doctors as well as many experts in armchairs in tournament galleries, living rooms and the media – for decades. But with Woods pursuing his sixth Masters Tournament champion even 14 months after a car accident made it possible to amputate his leg, the 46-year-old golfer’s recovery mode may be more important than any reading of any green color.

“If he can walk here through 72 holes, he’ll fight,” said Fred Pauls, a 1992 Masters winner who trained with Woods before the tournament opened on Thursday. “He’s too good. He’s too good. “

The couple may have been overly optimistic when he spoke Monday. On Thursday, Woods scored a grand 71 and 74 on Friday to put it on one over the face of the weekend. Taken together, the rounds, up and down as they were, were a remarkable display of rage and brutality that helped Woods dominate his sport for years. But it was expected that these previous departures would be the least difficult.

During the week, Woods said he had little trouble with his golf skills, even though he was openly worried about the demolition of a body that had long had the lightest days.

So he and his team must spend hours between rounds trying to achieve dueling ambitions: to reduce the swelling that is the urge around the topographical nightmare that is Augusta, and to surgically keep Woods ’restored limb“ moving and warmed up, activated and explosive for the next day, ”he said.

“In most sports, if you’re not feeling very well, you have a teammate to whom you can pass it on, and they can take on the load, or in football, one day a week,” Woods said. “We have four days in a row and there is no one who will take on this cargo except me. I have to figure out how to do it. “

According to Woods, he has not taken a day off from his rehab efforts since he came out of three months in bed after the crash of a car near Los Angeles in February 2021. As a result of the accident, he received open fractures of the tibia and fibula. the fibula in his right leg, and this forced surgeons to add rods, plates and screws to his leg.

The subsequent recovery required compromises and gambling, and, not new to Woods, unwavering confidence in their own talents, whatever they were.

Some changes seem easier to accept than others, such as new shoes to help stability on the course. But experts have also developed protocols before and after the rounds – “after I go ahead and smash it there, they go ahead and repair it at night,” Woods said Friday, “which dramatically extended the timing that comes with the game.

These approaches, which can stretch for several hours, left Woods less time to, say, hit a thousand goals a day and clarify, again, the nuances of his game.

“It gets painful and annoying because of the simple things I used to do, which now take a couple of hours here and a couple of hours there to prepare and then relax,” he said. “So the activity time to do what I want to do, it adds more time on both sides.”

The goal, he said, was to increase the endurance that provided him and all the other winners in Augusta to give enough relief to make competitive golf more of an opportunity than a dream.

But strategies can only blunt rather than extinguish the pain that Woods says is present “every day”.

However, he insists that pain is not a problem. According to him, in his first days in “August” there were no unexpected physical failures.

The question for Woods – and for everyone else left in the field at Augusta – is how long an already reworked leg can last under such prolonged coercion. The track, extended this year, is now 7,510 yards, the longest in the history of the tournament, which was first played in 1934. Woods ’predictions have only gone so far.

“I expected to get sick and not feel better, of course,” Woods said Friday. “It’s a combination. I can walk on this golf course – I can wear tennis shoes and play, it’s not a problem. But the ballistic approach to shots and strikes is formed from unequal lies, which poses a completely new challenge.

Soon he reached out, probably for another icy night.

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