AUGUSTA, Ga. — Two days before he plays in his first major in more than nine months, Tiger Woods said Tuesday that his performance since he returned from knee surgery has erased all doubts that he can return to the level that led him to 13 major titles.
Woods, who will begin his 15th Masters on Thursday, has played in three events this season after rehabilitation of his left knee. His win March 29 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational came after nondescript play at the Accenture Match Play Championship in February and the CA Championship, but he sent a message about his preparedness for Augusta National.
"If you asked me prior to the match play, a lot was uncertain," Woods said. "I didn't know how I was going to respond. I didn't know how I was going to recover day to day."
The results, though, were surprisingly positive, Woods said. Asked if he had any physical limitations, he said simply, "No." As for the possibility of winning all four majors consecutively just as he would have before his injury and layoff? "I know I can do it." His biggest question mark: "For me? How the golf course is going to be playing."
Woods plays in the penultimate group to tee off in Thursday's first round, joining Stewart Cink and Jeev Milkha Singh at 1:52 p.m.
Two-time champion Phil Mickelson starts at 10:45 a.m., joining Camilo Villegas and Jim Furyk. (For complete tee times, see For the record on 7C.)
Woods didn't practice Tuesday because temperatures were in the low 50s and the wind was swirling and gusting, conditions that are supposed to be much different from when play begins.
Notes: With wins at the British Open and PGA Championship, Padraig Harrington could join Woods and Ben Hogan as the only players to win three different majors in a row. … Defending champ Trevor Immelman enjoyed his chance to host the annual champion's dinner, which featured food with a South African flair. "I think it's going to be the highlight of my week, to be in the presence of guys that I have just idolized and looked up to my whole life."