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By : BGA Proshop
Whilst the rest of the world was hyped about Tiger Woods comeback, I was a little more reluctant to get excited with the main questions being, is he going to be healthy enough? Is he going to make it through four rounds? Is he going to get injured and pull out again? Or will he even be competitive? So while many were hoping that Tiger would return to the form of old, I was a little more reserved and less hopeful, but can you really blame me? I mean hey, I want a healthy winning Tiger as much as anyone but it’s been a long time.
The last two events Tiger played, he retired injured and missed the cut. One being the Farmers Insurance in January where he missed the cut with rounds of 76, 72 and the other being the Omega Dubai Desert Classic where he only got through the first round and finished with 77. Prior to that, Tiger only played the Hero World Challenge in 2016 which was his first competitive event in 466 days.
Tiger Woods entered the Hero World Challenge at 47 years of age (he will be 48 on the 30th December) and ranked 1199 in the world. In 2014, Tiger had surgery on a pinched nerve in his back. After a hopeful comeback post that surgery, his back continued to cause immense pain and so he returned for a second micro discectomy with follow up surgery. Since 2006, Tiger Woods has had an injury every single year. That’s over 10 straight years with a significant injury in each, and 3 years of continued back pain.
As soon as Tiger announced his comeback was going to be this November, the excitement grew and those playing rounds with him confirmed that Tiger was in great shape and ready to come back outdriving the likes of big-hitting World Number 1 Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler. Continuous videos surfaced of Tigers swing with every expert analysis advising it was more stable this time and Tiger was going to make a true a full comeback this time around.
Woods then finally appeared at the Albany course in the Bahamas getting through practice rounds and the Pro-Am with video confirmation that ‘Tiger was back!’. Ripping after drives and hitting as long as the biggest hitters on tour, it was now time to get excited about the return of the greatest player of our generation but would he score well? Would he be the competitive beast we once knew?
Tiger started 5 birdies in his first round, but with 2 bogeys, he finished with a 3 under 69 which was a hopeful start. He then started round 2 with a birdie, par, birdie, birdie and hearts around the world started racing with vintage Tiger Woods fist pumps in millions of lounge rooms before an eagle on the ninth and a 5 under round had us jumping to social media and sharing the news ….. TIGER WAS OFFICIALLY BACK!!!. Tiger then got to the 12th tee box 6 under after a birdie on 11 and we were all now watching the Tiger show.
With eight of the top ten players in the world on the course, it was the 1199th ranked Tiger Woods that capture our hearts and minds. Unfortunately, Tiger finished the round with 2 bogies and then a third round 75 where he was once 5 over par putting him well back from the leaders. With a closing day 4 under 68 however, you could certainly say that this was a successful start to what we hope is a successful comeback.
“I'm excited,” Woods said Sunday.
“I had the adrenaline going and overall I'm very pleased. I knew I was going to be able to play all four rounds, that was not going to be an issue. The issue was how was my scoring going to be, how was my feel, how am I going to get used to the adrenaline in my system for the first time in a while.
“That took a little bit of time. I was still good with my irons, I drove it pretty good all week, made some good putts. I showed some good signs, I hit some really good shots out there and, a bright future.”
Tiger is yet to announce his next event with early speculation that the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines is likely.
“We're going to sit down, we'll figure it out, where I'm going to start, how much I'm going to play, rest periods, training cycles, the whole nine yards,” Woods added.
“My expectations are we'll be playing next year. How many, where, I don't know yet, but we'll figure it out.”
Whilst golf is healthy with a highly talented next generation now lighting up the Tour every week, the Tiger effect is still real. Golf missed Tiger, and Tiger missed golf with celebrities, sports stars and fans all over the world tuning back into golf with an invested interest in seeing the comeback of one of the greatest sports stars of our time.