Two weeks after posting a video of himself advancing to hitting a driver in his rehab, Tiger Woods is officially coming back. The 14-time major champion announced Monday afternoon that he will make his long-awaited return to competitive golf at the upcoming Hero World Challenge, Nov. 30-Dec 3. Posting the announcement to Twitter, Woods joked that he’d like to “thank the committee of 1” for receiving one of two sponsor exemptions into the 18-player tournament for which he has served as the longtime host.
Woods hasn’t competed since withdrawing after the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic in February due to a lingering back injury. Less than two months later, he underwent a fourth career back surgery, which kept him sidelined for the remainder of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season. “I am excited to return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge,” Woods said in a statement. “Albany is the perfect setting and it will be great to join this outstanding field.” – H/T ESPN
Listen, I’m the biggest “Tiger’s back” guy out there. I’m so “Tigers back” that I wish I never had to use the phrase and he was just always in. So when I heard he was making his debut, normally I thought I would be ecstatic. But, I found myself, oddly put off by it. It just doesn’t feel right. It feels too soon. It feels like a few weeks ago Tiger Woods was stumbling down a Florida highway. A broken man both physically and mentally. I know he was hitting patented stinger Tiger stripes down the chute all last week, but it still worries me.
Tiger Woods came back this same event last season. He actually led the event in Birdies. It’s at his course so I get it in some ways. But he was also more healthy last year and look what happened. Two events later and back to the infirmary. I’m not sure how many comebacks Tiger has left in him. I’d like him to give it 100% this time and do everything in his power to make it back and stay back. Why come back right before the start of the year? Why not just wait and take the extra offseason to keep playing on your time at your pace…in a cart. There’s more physical drain that comes along with a round of PGA Tour golf than the 67 swings Tiger hopes to take. I’m not saying Tiger doesn’t realize this. I am saying I’m no longer confident Tiger can gauge the fragility of his body.
If he plans to come back and take it easy to four 72’s and just be happy with making it through four rounds of pro golf again, then that’s fine by me. But that’s, not Tiger. That’s not how he plays. His aggressiveness is what makes him so dangerous. Aggressiveness that will probably always be there mentally, but, unfortunately, unbeknownst to Tiger and the rest of us, maybe not physically. Hopefully, Tiger plays this one conservatively. Eases into the back half resurgence of his golf career, and gets himself in position to show the world he’s back and here to stay in April at Augusta, at the tournament where the legend was born. 46-long, get the tailor ready.