tiger-woods-2022-masters.jpg
Getty Images

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tiger Woods is on his way to playing the 2022 Masters. That was the headline of Woods' first press conference at an official tournament at which he has a tee time in the last 17 months. While that was obviously the most important topic Woods needed to address Tuesday -- especially after he said Sunday that teeing it up Thursday would be a game-time decision -- it was far from the only topic covered.

Woods discussed what it's like to look back 25 years after his first Masters win, how he's felt about the last year of support from family and friends and what motivated him to battle back from another injury -- this time after a serious automobile accident 14 months ago -- for what feels like the 50th time in his ridiculous career.

Let's take a look the highlights as Tiger held court at Augusta National for the first time since 2020.

On what the last year has been like

"It's been a tough, tough year and a lot of stuff that I had to deal with that I don't wish on anyone, but here we are, Masters week. Being able to play and practice ... For me, more importantly, just to say thank you to all the guys that have texted me, FaceTimed me, and called me and given me all their support -- to see them in person and to say thank you has meant a lot."

One of the themes of the last few years of Woods' life has been gratefulness to those around him in a way I'm not sure a 23-year-old or even 33-year-old Tiger comprehended. It's been enjoyable to see the evolution of that side of Tiger.

On getting his body ready

"It's just a matter of what my body's able to do the next day and the recovery. That's the hard part. Yes, we push it and try and recover the best we possibly can that night and see how it is the next morning. Then all the activations and going through that whole process again, and you warm it up, and then you warm it back down, or test it out, and then you've got to cool it back down. Then you've got to do that day in and day out. It gets agonizing and teasing because of simple things that I would normally just go do that would take now a couple hours here and a couple hours there to prep and then wind down. So, activity time to do what I want to do, it adds more time on both sides of it pre and post."

On contending, potentially winning

Tiger, you've said countless times throughout your career that you don't enter a golf tournament unless you think you can win it. So the question is simple: Do you think you can win the Masters this week?

"I do. I can hit it just fine. I don't have any qualms about what I can do physically from a golf standpoint. It's now walking is the hard part. This is normally not an easy walk to begin with. Now, given the conditions that my leg is in, it gets even more difficult. You know, 72 holes is a long road, and it's going to be a tough challenge and a challenge that I'm up for."

The question I still have -- and tried to ask before time ran out on Tuesday -- is why he believes he can win after not playing in the last 17 months. Tiger and his colleagues have talked endlessly about how much different things are when the lights come on and you have a pencil in your hand to keep score, and while I'm not sure there was ever any other way he was going to answer that question, I'm intrigued by whether he truly believes that and if so, why he does.

On how crazy it is to be back playing

"Well, at that time [after the accident], I was still in a hospital bed, and I was out for the next three months. I never left that hospital bed even to see my living room for three months. So that was a tough road. To finally get out of that where I wasn't in a wheelchair or crutches and walking and still had more surgeries ahead of me, to say that I was going to be here playing and talking to you guys again, it would have been very unlikely."

Tiger's name belies how truly preposterous this journey has been. He nearly had to have one of his legs amputated 14 months ago, and now he's teeing it up at the Masters!

On why he's trying to play

"I love competing, and I feel like if I can still compete at the highest level, I'm going to, and if I feel like I can still win, I'm going to play. But if I feel like I can't, then you won't see me out here. You guys know me better than that. I don't show up to an event unless I think I can win it. So, that's the attitude I've had. There will be a day when it won't happen, and I'll know when that is, but physically the challenge this week is I don't have to worry about the ball-striking or the game of golf, it's actually just the hills out here. That's going to be the challenge, and it's going to be a challenge of a major marathon."

This was an extension of his answer on whether he believes he can win. I still want to know why. Also, it's a very "normal sport" thing that actually doing the thing you're required to do is not the issue but physically walking to do it again is going to be herculean.

On what his future holds

"My movement probably will not get much better. Will I feel better? Yes, I will. I'm going to get stronger, and the whole limb will get stronger. But as far as movement, probably not much more. I'm so limited with the hardware in there, I won't get much more."

The software is why he won the 2019 Masters, though.

On what success looks like this week

"I think that the fact that I was able to get myself here to this point is a success, and now that I am playing, now that everything is focused on how do I get myself into the position where I'm on that back nine on Sunday with a chance? Just like I did a few years ago."

That first sentence is paramount. The fact that he's even teeing it up is an achievement nearly beyond belief. I hope we don't lose sight of that if he shoots 74-74 over the first two days and misses the cut.

On going out on his own terms

"When I decide to hang it up, when I feel like I can't win anymore, then that will be it. But I feel like I can still do it, and I feel like I still have the hands to do it, the body's moving good enough. I've been in worse situations and played and won tournaments. Now, I haven't been in situations like this where I've had to walk and endure what I'm going to try and endure, that's going to be different. It's a different challenge."

This is probably as close as he got to answering the question of why he believes he can win and also served as a tremendous beacon of encouragement if you're a Tiger fan for what the next few days could hold.

Watch all four rounds of the 2022 Masters starting Thursday with Masters Live as we follow the best golfers in the world throughout Augusta National with Featured Groups, check in at the famed Amen Corner and see leaders round the turn on holes 15 & 16. Watch live on CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports App and Paramount+.