Tiger Woods’s former Stanford teammate and long time confidante, Notah Begay, gives it a 50-50 chance that the world’s most famous golfer and owner of 14 major championships will tee it up for his twentieth Masters Championship at Augusta National on April 9.
Although one should not expect too much from Woods if he indeed does make it to the first tee at Augusta, he has fared quite well there in the past. Just five wins away from toppling Sam Snead as the most victorious golfer in the history of the game, Woods placed in the top five in eleven of the 19 Masters tournaments that he entered. He has won the tournament four times.
The iconic golfer is on a self-imposed sabbatical attempting to resuscitate his golf game after several unsuccessful recent tournaments. Woods missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open in early February because of a lower back and glute deactivation issues.
Tiger failed to qualify for the WGC-Cadillac at Doral. On top of that, he chose not to play the Honda Classic and the Arnold Palmer Invitational because he needed to sharpen his game.
Recent short game execution by Woods prompted Golf Channel analyst, Brandon Chamblee, to characterize it as some of the worst that he has ever seen from a professional golfer. Once considered to be a maestro in that skill set, Woods now seems unable to chip without fatting or sculling the ball. Sinking a five-foot putt continues to remain a mystery to Tiger since he started missing them routinely in his shortened—and winless—2014 season.
Despite his problems, no one wants Tiger to play in the Masters more than CBS and ESPN. They know well how many more viewers they will capture if he plays. Needless to say, Tiger playing well and in the mix on Masters Sunday would be absolute wish-fulfillment for both networks.
Begay, a four-time PGA winner, has been friends with Tiger for thirty years. This year Begay introduced Tiger to his new swing advisor Chris Como. Golf.com reported that Begay offered some advice of his own to his ex-roommate.
“My suggestion to him was to take as much time as he needed to just figure out this issue with his short game and also to work on or clean up a couple of things that might be a little loose with his golf swing,” he said. “I think things are really settling. We’ve had some good discussions over the last week or so and he feels good about it. I think it was good for him to stay a step back, to reassess a variety of different things and do things on his timeline.”