The last time the world saw Tiger Woods play professional golf was in 2015. He tied for 10th place at the Wyndham Championship. He did not leave the golf world due to lack of competitive fire. Woods, arguably the greatest golf in the history of the game, took time off due to recurring injuries. He is scheduled to play this week at the Hero World Challenge. The tournament is being held in the Bahamas and is set up to benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Since 2015, Tiger was endured multiple back surgeries. Always the secretive personality, Woods worked in seclusion to recover his game and, frankly, his ability walk without pain. Woods declared he was healthy and returning to competitive golf this October at the Safeway Open, but, withdrew from the tournament citing that his game was not in shape for the PGA Tour level of competition.
According to an interview with the USA Today, the time has come. After an exhaustive two-hour session on the range yesterday where he worked through every club in his bag, Tiger said the words that fans have been waiting to hear for over a year.
“I’m ready to go”
Tiger talked about how hard it was to withdraw from tournaments.
“It was a smart decision in the end to pull out of the tournaments. The competitor inside me wanted to go so badly, I was itching to go, I had been playing at home, and I thought I could get it around. I had played feeling worse and won golf tournaments. But I finally decided why rush … I had waited more than a year, so let’s wait a little more and get it right.”
His decision to delay his return was based upon where his game was, not his health.
“I have way more shots now, because I’ve played way more golf. I only had a handful of shots back then,” said Woods, who played nine holes at Albany shortly after he arrived on Saturday. “And you just saw a session where I hit everything. And I had control of everything. I can hit all the shots now, on call.”
The 14-time major winner was candid about the start this week. Woods understands that all eyes will be on him for this tournament.
“Yes, I’m nervous,” said Woods, who is still working with swing coach Chris Como. “I’m nervous for every tournament I play in, whether it’s after a layoff, or six in a row, or a major. I care. If I care, I’m nervous. And it’s good to be that way. To have that nervous energy and channel it, into aggression, into focus, into concentration, that’s good stuff.
“If I wasn’t nervous, that would mean I didn’t care. I don’t want to be out there flat. I want to be out here so bad. And now I am.”
Tiger will have some stiff competition this week. The Hero World Challenge field includes Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, and Bubba Watson.
Hero World Challenge
Albany, New Providence (Bahamas)
Date: December 1 – 4, 2016
TV: The Golf Channel
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