Tiger Woods’ ankle has ‘zero mobility,’ Notah Begay says before the Masters

All indications are that Tiger Woods will play in the Masters next week

What is good news for golf fans comes with one major question that has become the theme of Woods’ pro golf twilight: how will the 15-time major champion’s body hold up? Former Stanford teammate and longtime friend Notah Begay III says everyone will find out at the same time. 

“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,” Begay, now a commentator for NBC Sports, said on a conference call Wednesday. “He’s got zero mobility in that left ankle and really has low-back challenges now, which he knew he was going to have.”

At a junior golf tournament Begay hosts (and Charlie Woods played), Woods told Begay, “my ankle doesn’t move. So something’s going to take the stress. I mean, the stress is going to transfer somewhere else.”

Woods anticipated it could have been his knee or his hip, and the pain is most felt in his back. Woods withdrew from the Genesis Invitational, which he hosts, and said he suffered a back injury during the first round. 

In February 2021, Woods nearly had his lower right leg amputated following an accident during which his Genesis GV80 struck the median and rolled over multiple times. Already saddled with injuries, Woods now has trouble walking. 

“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.”

According to Sports Illustrated, Woods played Augusta National over the weekend with PGA pal Justin Thomas and club chairman Fred Ridley. 

Woods has won at Augusta five times. His most recent victory, in 2019, came more than 10 years after his last major victory. He made his 23rd consecutive cut at Augusta last year but did not finish the tournament because he withdrew with plantar fasciitis

“I think playing on the weekend would be a win, a win-win,” ESPN commentator Andy North said on a conference call Tuesday. “He’s going to tell you that he’s there because he thinks he can win the tournament, but to be realistic, what he’s gone through, you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. What he has to do to get ready to go out and try to play golf every single day is very, very difficult.” 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tiger Woods and 2024 Masters decision: His ankle has zero mobility

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