Tiger Woods plays 18 holes at Augusta as Masters return moves closer

Tiger Woods played 18 holes at Augusta National on Tuesday as speculation intensifies that the 14-times major winner will make a spectacular return to competitive golf at next week’s Masters.

On a day that highlighted how newsworthy Woods remains despite a recent fall from grace which has seen him slip outside of the world’s top 100 ranked players, it was reported that the 39-year-old’s private jet had been parked at Augusta Regional Airport on Tuesday morning.

Later, USA Today confirmed that Woods’s trip had been for an entire practice round, with the outlet adding a statement from the golfer’s manager Mark Steinberg. It read: “He continues to work on the game and will advise in coming days what the plan is.”

Woods, who has been blighted by loss of fitness and form since a successful 2013, last played at the Farmers Insurance Open in early February. He withdrew from that event and issued a statement saying he would return only when his damaged game was “tournament ready”.

Woods is clearly of a mind to participate in the first major of the year if at all possible. However, should he decide not to accept Augusta National’s invitation having visited to test his golf, it would provide merely the latest snapshot of his professional struggles.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Ewan Murray, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 31st March 2015 18.01 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010