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Posted April 6, 2021, 6:24 pm |

Tiger Woods' absence felt across Augusta National

Tiger Woods hasn’t given any recent updates on his health since his horrific single-car crash back in February, but two of his friends in the Masters Tournament did give some insight on his recovery on Tuesday.

Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy have separately visited recently with Woods, the five-time Masters Tournament champion. They all live in south Florida, in Jupiter.

Woods suffered a broken right leg and ankle in a crash near Los Angeles on Feb. 23 and was unable to make it Tuesday night’s Champions Dinner hosted by Dustin Johnson.

Augusta National Golf Club left an open chair in Woods’ honor at the dinner, which he hosted back in November as the defending champion.

Woods tweeted that he’d miss running up Johnson’s bill and that the Champions Dinner “is still one of my favorite nights of the year.”

Thomas has spent time recently at Woods’ house watching basketball and other sports.

“I went over and saw him a couple times last week and tried to go over a couple times during the week whenever I'm home and see him … Yeah, it's been good to see him and hang out with him,” Thomas said. “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, and we hate it, too.”

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McIlroy said he went to Woods house “a few weeks ago” and was struck by the fact Woods’ family room had his 15 major championship trophies, but didn’t he know exactly where his others were (he has a record-tying 82 PGA Tour titles). It was obvious to McIlroy just how much Woods placed the four weeks each year of the major championships above all the rest.

“That was just always in my mind, he talked about these are the four weeks that matter,” McIlroy said. “So the weeks that didn't matter, you know, he racked them up at a pretty fast clip. Yeah, that's all I could think about on the way home. And I was glad he was OK, too.”

Thomas said he missed playing practice rounds with Woods and Couples as he normally does at the Masters. He said Couples begged out of a Tuesday morning practice round because he said it was too cold.

“I don't know if he would have bailed on me if Tiger was with me, but he did on me. So hopefully I'll get to hang out with him tomorrow,” Thomas said.

Couples, the 1992 Masters champion and a close friend of Woods, posted a picture on Twitter of himself wearing a mask depicting a Tiger. The caption read: “Thinking of my guy Tiger Woods this week at the Masters. I’ll miss you tonight at the dinner. Not the same without you.”