Sir Nick Faldo: 'Tiger is the rarest of the rare'

Tigerwoodsfaldo

Sir Nick Faldo says he has genuinely struggled to describe just how incredible Tiger Woods’ return to Augusta National really is.

Woods returned to competitive golf for the first time in 18 months and sits four off the lead after an opening one-under 71. 

"I'm struggling for superlatives with Tiger,” he told Sky Sports’ Nick Dougherty. “It's ridiculous. I've been talking to him through the week a couple of times and he said, 'Well it's just pain'. I said, 'Well, what's the level out of 10'? And he said 'higher'. I said, 'Worse than '08?' And he says 'way worse - playing with a broken leg was easy'.” 

Woods has said he spent three months in bed and, as soon as he was able, he worked "every single day" with his team to get back to some kind of fitness.  

• Woods 'proud' after impressive return to golf

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Six-time major champion Faldo was clearly dumbstruck at how Woods has recovered from a car crash where he was "extricated from the wreck" by the jaws of life, according to the local police force.  

Woods, now 46, said amputation of his right leg was an option at one point. 

“There's no grimaces on his face,” said Faldo. “He's not showing it. His mental strength to be able to deal with that...I mean, he just wants to go and play.  

“I'm just struggling to describe it. We cannot imagine it. For fun, just imagine if you took 500 days off doing something you were really good at. We know, as golfers, you take a month off and come back and be competitive - this is what is so incredible. How do you take 500 days off from being competitive?  

“To come back and out look sharp and do everything while thinking about club selection and so on, and put all that together? That's what makes it absolutely off the charts.” 

Faldo said Woods had told him he’d been taking in beach training in order to soften up the ankle tissue – but the Englishman said the ability of Woods to come out and be competitive was simply mind-blowing. 

• Tiger critic throws massive barb

"To come and be competitive straight out the gates against the world's best who have been competitive for weeks - and he's tenth and under par. You know, Tiger is the rarest of the rarest. What he's able to do, I can't stress it strongly enough. People do not appreciate what he's had to do to get back to this.  

“To have a dream and a goal is fine, but you've got to go and do it. He did not leave a bed for three months. Here we are four months after PNC Championship with Charlie, where he played in a cart, and we're at this great major and he's in contention. It's amazing.” 

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