Five-time champion Tiger Woods is planning to play in this week’s Masters just 14 months after suffering life-threatening injuries in a car crash.
Woods will play nine holes on Wednesday before confirming the decision.
But in a news conference at Augusta National on Tuesday the American said “as of right now, I am going to play”.
When asked if he thought he could equal Jack Nicklaus’ record of six victories he replied: “I do. I don’t show up to an event unless I think I can win it.”
While conceding that if he never played again he would be content with his haul of 15 major titles – three behind Nicklaus’ all-time record – and joint-record 82 PGA Tour titles, Woods said he still has the desire to compete.
“I feel like I can still do it,” he said. “I still have the hands to do it, the body is moving good enough. I have been in worse situations and won tournaments.
“I feel like if I can still compete at the highest level I am going to, but if I feel like I can’t, you won’t see me out here.
“The fact that I was able to get myself here at this point was a success and now that I am playing, everything is focused on getting in that position on the back nine on Sunday with a chance like I did a few years ago.”
He surprised many when he announced last week that he was hoping to compete at the first men’s major of 2022.
Woods’ last professional tournament was the rescheduled Masters in November 2020, when he was defending champion, having won his fifth title in 2019 – more than a decade after winning his 14th major.
But three months later he flipped his car while driving at close to double the 45mph speed limit near Los Angeles. Woods has said he could have died in the crash, with the need to have a leg amputated another fear at the time. He spent several months in hospital.
He returned to play in an exhibition tournament with his son Charlie in December but used a buggy to get around the course.
And in February, Woods made it clear that he thought the hilly terrain at Augusta National would come too soon in his recovery.
However, he played 27 holes last week, nine on Sunday and then nine more on Monday in the company of good friends Justin Thomas and 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples.
More to follow.