AUGUSTA, Ga. – On the road since 18th green for the scoring area on Thursday afternoon at Augusta National, Ian Woosnam stopped in the shade under a large oak tree leaning against the club, put his hands on his knees and took several deep breaths.
“Oh, man,” the exhausted 63-year-old said moments later after signing his 32-year-old for 4:76 in the opening round.nd Masters tournament.
Woosnam was “pretty damn pleased” as the day went by at the scoreboard – he made three little birds to make up for some mistakes made mostly by his ever-shrinking length on the main 7,475-meter schedule he played solidly and fast as the 1991 Masters champion he ever saw . But he had obvious pain after repeating a severe groin injury during the round.
“I was thinking of coming in after 11, but I scored pretty well, you know,” said Woosnam, who has injured a muscle in recent months as he tries to swing faster in preparation for the Master. “Yesterday it bothered me all day from the first shot, and it got worse. And that’s where it won’t disappear like that. I tore a muscle or something.
Woosnam suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a rare type of arthritis that causes discomfort and stiffness in the spine, but his back is doing better than surgery in January 2019. He said Monday that his body felt as good as it had for years, but that was a few laps around the hilly Augusta National. He didn’t even start the course on Wednesday.
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Twice before, in 2016 and two years ago, Woosnam announced that it would retire from this tournament. But twice he found his way back.
“This is my 30th year [since my win] I definitely wanted to do this, ”Woosnam said. “I definitely wanted to play this year and see how I went and see how I feel tomorrow. I keep repeating. I know and I just feel like I can still play well enough, but I just can’t get my body good enough to play it.
“The plain is looking forward to it and suddenly it’s the same old thing. After the back surgery I feel pretty good and then I get to this place and it just tears me apart. “
The question is whether Woosnam will go through another round. He didn’t seem overconfident on Thursday, but he figured it would be hard to bear. He played too well “on one leg” to start this tournament, not to at least try to do it.
“Well, since I’m stupid, I’ll most likely play, get out there,” he said, “and if you can’t play, I just have to get in.”