Mike Weir took a few small steps along the road to recovery on Monday, hitting a few balls for the first time since he suffered a rib injury at Bay Hill.
That road, by the way, is the one that will lead Weir to the first tee on Thursday. He's hoping to tee it up in his 14th consecutive Masters but that's anything but a sure thing right now.
"I was encouraged," Weir said after taking some swings on the range at the Augusta National Golf Club. "I hit about 30 or 40 shots, including some drivers and I could move through them. They weren't at full speed mind you but for a Monday, it felt pretty good."
Weir spent a little time on the range, mostly hitting full wedge shots but he also hit his driver, swinging slowly at the big stick and carrying the ball about 200 yards. He didn't seem to be wincing or grimacing on any swings but it was obvious he wasn't going full out.
According to his coach, Grant Waite, Weir will stretch things out on Tuesday and likely play a few holes. Waite liked what he saw but said he is unsure whether his student will play come Thursday.
For Weir, this is all about the Masters. If this was any other week on the calendar, he probably would be anywhere but the range.
"No, I'd probably give it another two weeks or so," he said. "But I want to play this tournament. It's important."
Weir knows the risks involved. With this type of injury, he said, the change of aggravating the injury is high. Having just started to show signs of getting his game back on track, missing more events is not what he needs.
"I don't want to be back to where I was two weeks ago and start all over," he said.
If there is a silver lining to the injury, Weir has spent much of the last few weeks just chipping and putting – the only two activities that didn't hurt – and his short game is strong. That's never a bad thing around Augusta National, of course.
Weir added that he will wait until Wednesday before he makes a final decision on whether to play.
"As I ramp it up, as long as I don't have any setbacks, I'll play," he stated. "But if I do, I won't.
"The good thing about this tournament is that I won't be taking any alternate's spot so I can wait before I decide."
This is the 10th anniversary of Weir's win here at Augusta National and there are lots of events surrounding that including a documentary that will air on TSN on Wednesday.
While he has fond memories of that win, right now, he'd settle for being able to get to the first tee on Thursday.