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Masters 2023: Tiger Woods' caddie paints ominous picture of Woods' physical condition

April 05, 2023

Kevin C. Cox

AUGUSTA, Ga.—Tiger Woods admitted he doesn’t know how many Masters he has left, a fate that’s the byproduct of the numerous injuries suffered by the 15-time major winner over the past two decades. Woods’ caddie agrees, illustrating the physical torment Woods is dealing with as he attempts to win his sixth green jacket.

Speaking to the New York Post, Woods’ loop Joe LaCava said Woods continues to deal with a significant amount of pain just to compete, pain that LaCava says is taking a toll on Woods. According to LaCava, Woods’ issues with his leg at the Genesis Invitational wore down the 47-year-old and can’t envision things being much better this week.

“Obviously it affected him physically, but I think it got to him mentally because he’s grinding to block out the pain,” LaCava told the Post about Woods’ only start this season at Riviera. “I think that messes with you a little bit upstairs, and that’s the first time I saw him trying so hard to block it out mentally.”

“He’s pretty banged up,” LaCava continued. “If it wasn’t Augusta he probably wouldn’t be playing … He still has the power, the swing speed, the shots and the length to contend. The injury is devastating, but if he could take a cart he could contend tomorrow.”

Not helping matters is an ominous forecast, one that could lead to delays throughout the tournament. Should rain and storms force marathon rounds, LaCava doesn’t like Woods’ chances. “I can’t imagine him trying to go 27-plus holes [in one day] around here,” LaCava said.

For his part, Woods isn’t hiding from the notion that he’s hurt and his time to contend at Augusta National may be running out. “Mobility, it's not where I would like it, but it's -- as I sit here, I've said to you guys before, I'm very lucky to have this leg; it's mine,” Woods said. “Yes, it had been altered and there's some hardware in there, but it's still mine. It has been tough and will always be tough. The ability and endurance of what my leg will do going forward will never be the same. I understand that. That's why I can't prepare and play as many tournaments as I like, but that's my future, and that's okay. I'm okay with that.”

Conversely, Woods is not here just as a ceremonial golfer, and laid out how he plans on attacking Augusta due to his physical constraints and lack of preparation. “I've gone through so many different scenarios in my head. You know I don't sleep very well, so going through it and rummaging through the data bank and how to hit shots from each and every place and rehearsing it; that's the only way that I can compete here. I don't have the physical tournaments under my belt. I haven't played that much, no. But if there's any one golf course that I can come back, like I did last year, it's here, just because I know the golf course. You look at what -- Bernhard is still able to compete here, Fred is still able to compete here. They're older guys who understand how to play this particular golf course. It helps. And hopefully it will help me this week.”

Woods tees off Thursday at Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele at 10:18 a.m.