What to expect as Tiger continues his journey back to competitive golf

Hello World”



August 1996

Two words — Hello World — and Tiger Woods, the professional golfer, was born.

(actually he spoke for 20 minutes and was a nervous wreck for most of it)

All one needs to understand is those two words would forever change the course of golf history — and also how some feel about grand slam breakfasts.

October 2017

As has been the case for the past several years, Tiger Woods has made the news exclusively for his dealings off the course.

Surgeon visits — check. Successful surgeries — check. Medical updates — check. “Feeling better, getting close” teasers — check. Audition for Cops: Jupiter Island Patrol — check. FULL MEDICAL CLEARANCE?! — check!

Having once ruled the PGA Tour almost to the point of necessary intervention from golfs competition committee, — is that a thing? — Eldrick “Tiger” Woods recently received medical clearance to resume full golf activities with no restrictions.

Now, what that means in terms of a timeline for competitive play? That’s anyone’s guess.

His agent, Mark Steinberg, was vague in his assessment of when golf could expect their Diner dwelling feline back in tournament action.

“He got a nice report and is allowed to proceed. “He can do as much as he needs to do. Tiger is going to take this very, very slowly. This is good, but he plans to do it the right way.”

With the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and a horde of other any given Sunday contenders, golf has transitioned to a new era — an era with many rulers rather than a single dictator. Golf doesn’t need Tiger like it used to.

In saying that, having a healthy Tiger on tour is good business, but only if he’s competitive. A limping and grimacing Tiger does nobody, most importantly Tiger himself, any good.

Don’t know what I mean? Check this out — This is what we DON’T want! (it’s a charity event but still indicative of the state of his golf game at the time of the event) 

Watching the above video — having been a fan of Tiger’s for so long — is painful. His body simply cannot match his mind — a body that once seemed indestructible.

It’s been such a fall from grace for Woods, who continues to battle inner demons while simultaneously pursuing a return to the PGA Tour. The police video of him was sickening to say the least.

His history with infidelity is well documented. He wasn’t the first and won’t be the last — sorry to disappoint all you idealists — but what Tiger needs more than anything now is his health, and recent reports seem to suggest he’s finally found it. A clean bill of health should afford him the opportunity to continue his search — more like a reinvention — of his swing. Old habits are no longer viable solutions.

Woods’ body — mainly his back and knees — will not hold up under the same pressure they used to be able to withstand. And he knows that. Returning with a reliable and pain-free swing hopefully translates to respectable results, and should begin to morph into meaningful and sustained support from golf fans around the world.

Sure there will be the detractors who want nothing more than a Tour sans Tiger Woods. I’d like to believe that stance is rooted heavily in assumptions about his health, because as I’ve said previously, a healthy Tiger Woods is good for golf, and good for sports in general — if the thought of a returning Tiger SOMEHOW contending on a Major Sunday doesn’t give you chills…your loss I guess?

As we continue to follow the latest chapter in one of sport’s most compelling self-authored tragedies, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Expectations have changed. Tiger himself has changed.

Talking with playing mates was never been a priority, but more recently he’s shown an openness to schmooze with his fellow playing partners — Winning?? How about making a cut? A top-10 perhaps — Baby steps, walk before you run. This, in someways, is a rebirth for Woods.

He once prowled around the course, with an unbreakable focus. He exuded an aura that left most in awe, and his fellow competitors drowning in self-doubt. Today, we merely hope he can return healthy and simply have fun.

And maybe (just maybe) in doing so, he’ll give us more of these.

 

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