There’s a big hole in the 2021 Masters field with the legendary Tiger Woods unable to go. Woods, of course, was involved in a serious car accident in February and his golfing career is on hold as he recovers. Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, among others, have turned the tables on Tiger as the Masters begins this week.
Tiger Woods recovering after suffering a severe leg injury in crash
On Feb. 23, Tiger Woods was involved in a car crash that required Woods to undergo multiple surgeries on his right leg. The five-time Masters champion will sit this one out as he recovers from the devastating accident. Woods last won the event in 2019.
The latest report on the accident is that Woods traveled at a high rate of speed when his car crossed over two lanes and uprooted a tree. Authorities said Wednesday that Woods’ SUV drove between 84 to 87 mph in a 45 mph zone. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said Woods traveled at 75 mph when he hit the tree, according to ESPN.
In a statement posted on Twitter after Wednesday’s news conference, Woods said he’s grateful for the good samaritans who came to his rescue the day of the crash. He remains focused on his recovery and family. “I will continue to focus on my recovery and family, and thank everyone for the overwhelming encouragement and support I’ve received throughout this very difficult time,” Woods wrote.
Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy say Tiger coming along well
Rory McIlroy grew up idolizing Tiger Woods. Now he’s considered one of his closest friends on the PGA Tour. McIlroy and Justin Thomas, who both live near Woods in Florida, have recently visited him and both said he’s in good spirits and coming along well after his serious car crash back in February.
“When you hear of these things and you look at the car and you see the crash, you think he’s going to be in a hospital bed for six months,” McIlroy said Tuesday after practicing for the Masters, according to The New York Times. “But he was actually doing better than that. I spent a couple hours with him, which was nice. It was good to see him in decent spirits.”
Justin Thomas said he’s watched TV with Woods, who seemed upbeat during their time together. Thomas said it felt normal spending time with his good friend. “We are fortunate with the basketball to just hang out,” Thomas said, “and watch sports like we would any normal time.”
Thomas, McIlroy turning the tables on Woods
Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy have always drawn inspiration from Tiger Woods when they were growing up. Now they know it’s their turn to return the favor. Although Woods’ spirits are better than expected after his car accident, he still bummed he can’t take part in the Masters.
“We texted Friday morning, and he said it’s kind of starting to set in. He’s bummed he’s not here playing practice rounds with us,” Thomas said of Woods, according to The New York Times. “And we hate it, too. I’m very, very lucky that I somehow got thrown into that practice-round group with Tiger and Freddie the last four years or whatever it is. I just follow them around like puppy dogs. Wherever they go, that’s where I go. If they hit chips from somewhere, I go hit chips from there.”
Thomas said he’ll do whatever Tiger needs him to do. “That’s just what I want to do for him, is just be like: ‘Dude, I’ll do anything you want,” he said. “If you need me to help out with your kids, I can do that. If you’re craving McDonald’s and you want me to bring it over, dude, I don’t care. I’m here for you and I’ll help out however I can.”
McIlroy agreed. “I think myself, J.T., Rickie, D.J., Brooks, all those guys down there, we all have a responsibility to try to keep his spirits up and keep him going,” McIlroy said. “And try to get him back out here.”