Tiger Woods Returns to Competetion, and Everything Golf is More

11/29/2017

Hello world.  He’s back (again).

Tiger Woods returns to competitive golf this week when he will tee it up at his own tournament, the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.  The last time Tiger played competitive golf was way back in February in Dubai.  He withdrew just before the second round due to injury, his fifth WD in his last 19 tournaments.

Since February a lot has happened to Tiger.  Another back surgery in April, arrested for DUI in May in which he plead guilty at a court appearance in October and a whole lot of speculation about his future. Is he going to retire? Can he actually swing a golf club? When will he play next? Does he even want to play on Tour anymore? Thousands of questions, but no answers.

His play in the Bahamas should help answer at least some questions.  All indications from videos he’s posted online and other Tour pros’ comments appear positive.  Tiger looks to be swinging the club without any obvious pain and he’s hitting the ball plenty far off the tee.  The doctors have given him the green light to return and he seems to be excited and energetic about being back on the course.

What Does this Mean?

Of course, nobody will confuse the Hero World Challenge with The Masters or even a run of the mill PGA Tour stop.  It’s a small hand-picked field playing on a tropical playground a month before Christmas.  With that being said, it’s a strong field Tiger will have to contend with. Seven of the 18 players have major titles to their name, Brit Tommy Fleetwood just won the Race to Dubai and you may have heard of Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Hideki Matsuyama.  

Simply finishing four rounds pain free should do a lot for Tiger’s confidence and his world ranking.  By simply turning in a card on Sunday (there is no cut), Tiger is guaranteed to move up at least 250 spots.  If he somehow actually won the tournament, he could be inside the top-150.  He hasn’t been ranked that high in almost two and a half years.  It would also spark an online petition to move the start of The Masters to the first week of January.

Predictions (if any)

It’s impossible to predict what version of Tiger will show up in the Bahamas.  No doubt his game will be rusty and he’ll spray some drives and maybe chunk a chip shot or two.  He’ll also likely spin some wedges to within a foot and drain some long birdie putts as well.  Regardless of how he plays, two things are certain:  The game is better with him back playing and April can’t get here soon enough.