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Begay on Tiger: 'He's got some constraints'

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods - The Canadian Press

A longtime friend of Tiger Woods' says the five-time Masters champion is facing a number of physical issues as Augusta approaches.

NBC Sports commentator Notah Begay III, Woods' former teammate at Stanford, says Woods is coming up with a way to meet the physical demands at next weekend's tournament, one of which Woods has yet to officially confirm his participation.

"He’s trying to formulate a strategy and approach that he can work within given the constraints that he’s presented with," the 51-year-old Begay said on an NBC conference call. "And he’s got some constraints. He’s got zero mobility in that left ankle and really has low-back challenges now, which he knew he was going to have."

Much of Woods' lower-body pain stems from a major car crash in 2021 in which Woods incurred serious leg injuries and underwent fusion surgery in his ankle. He had an additional procedure last spring.

Woods, 48, withdrew from the last tournament in which he played - his own Genesis Invitational - during the second round in February with illness, but also experienced back and ankle pain.

"He had a little bit of a fever and that, and was better during the warm-up, but then when he got out there and was walking and playing, he started feeling dizzy," Woods' business partner Rob McNamara said at the time. "Ultimately, the doctors are saying he's got some -- potentially some type of flu and that he was dehydrated. He's been treated with an IV bag and he's doing much, much better and he'll be released on his own here soon."

Woods reportedly played a round at Augusta last weekend with Justin Thomas in preparation for the Apr. 11 Masters.

A winner in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2019, Woods withdrew from last year's Masters ahead of the third round.

Woods has made 23 consecutive cuts at a Augusta, a record shared with Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.

Should Woods tee off next weekend, it would be his 26th Masters.