The number 663 ranked player in the world is back on the golf course this week, the question is will Tiger Woods game ever truly get back on the course to greatness?
Woods returns to the site of his last major victory, Torrey Pines, this week to compete in the Farmers Insurance Open.
Woods has won 8 times at Torrey, including a memorable playoff victory over Rocco Mediate in the 2008 U.S. Open, but is considered a long shot to win this week after playing just one tournament in 17 months.
The last time we saw Tiger was in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December, where he finished 15th out of 18 entries, despite tying tournament winner Hideki Matsuyama for most birdies in the field with 24.
That event in early December was on a cake course, where it was important for the constantly injured Woods to just finish a tournament rather than win one.
This week, and four of the next five, will be a much truer test for Tiger.
After playing the Farmers, Woods heads overseas to play in the Dubai Desert Classic, then takes a week off before returning to the states to play in the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic.
It’ll be a physical test for Tiger just to make all four cuts, since he hasn’t competed in this many events over a short period of times in what seems like forever.
In San Diego, he’ll compete against the likes of world number one Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Phil Michelson, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose and Matsuyama.
In Dubai, he’ll get Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and reigning Masters champ Danny Willett. Rory McIlroy did pull out with a rib injury, but you get my drift, it’s gonna be tough.
Woods is now 41 years old. So the prospect of winning 5 more majors to pass Jack Nicklaus’ record 19 seems like the longest of longshots. Even getting to Sam Snead’s mark of 82 career PGA Tour victories (Tiger has 79) seems like an uphill battle.
Woods getting competitive again, hanging around leaderboards with a chance to win would be great for golf. He still moves the TV needle more than any athlete in sports. He’s polarizing, fans root for and against him. He bring the casual sports fan back to the game when he’s playing. When he’s not, golf is not even a second thought for them in a vast sea of televised sports choices.
We’ll see if is one last hurrah for Tiger, or the just the swan song of a legendary career.
It’s gonna be tough for Woods to beat his old rivals like Phil, and new young stars like Justin Thomas.
Golf is more competitive than ever, with deeper fields and more than just a handful of players capable of winning every week.
And I still don’t think Woods has completely healed all the mental wounds from the public disgrace of 2009, which he brought completely on himself.
Golf is tough enough without all the personal baggage.
Tiger faces a tough road ahead,
glad he’s back on it. I’m just afraid he’s going to the old guy in the left lane getting passed and honked at by these younger (long) drivers.
He’d better be ready to step on the accelerator, or get out of the way.