AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods isn't at the Masters, but in Augusta, he's never far from the conversation.
Tuesday night, the club hosted its annual Champions Dinner, when past champions gather to honor the newest inductee to their ranks. This year, Dustin Johnson offered his fellow champions a range of dining options that included pigs in a blanket. And Woods, for one, was sorry to miss out on that culinary delight.
Woods was injured in a one-car February crash, suffering broken bones in his leg and ankle. He's recovering at home in Florida, and several players, including Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, have visited him there.
"We texted Friday morning, and he said it's kind of starting to set in," Thomas said. "He's bummed he's not here playing practice rounds with us, and we hate it, too."
"He's always missed when he doesn't play in these big events," McIlroy said. "I know he's at home and he's fully focused on the recovery process, and I feel like he's mentally strong enough to get through that. And once he does, broken bones heal, and he's just got to take it step by step."
Fred Couples paid tribute to Woods with his choice of protective gear:
Thomas reminisced about practice rounds he's played at Augusta with Couples and Woods. "I just follow them around like puppy dogs," he said. "Wherever they go, that's where I go after it. If they hit chips from somewhere, I go hit chips from there."
"Tiger Woods is one of the greatest competitors in the history of all sports, and he is and forever will be a part of the fabric of Augusta National and the Masters Tournament," Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said Wednesday morning. "He is greatly missed this week, and we continue to hope and pray for his recovery."
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at email@example.com.
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