NASSAU, Bahamas – Tiger Woods left everyone’s guess at the Hero World Challenge with weekend sessions that drew as much attention as the two eagles Viktor Hovland did in his comeback victory.
And after? Only he knows it.
It started two weeks ago with a three-second video of a short iron hit and the message “Making progress”. At his first press conference since the February car crash in Los Angeles that damaged his right leg, Woods painted a less optimistic picture.
His answer to a question last Tuesday was that his leg and lower back hurt just sitting there. He spoke of his comeback from fusion surgery which culminated with his victory at the 2019 Masters, and later the Zozo Championship for his record-breaking 82nd PGA Tour victory.
“I don’t see that type of trend developing for me. I won’t have the opportunity to train given the condition of my leg and develop. I just don’t,” a- he declared. “I’ll just have a different way of doing it and that’s okay and I’m fine with that. I’ve done the climb enough times.”
Later that day, the PGA Tour captured video of Woods hitting a 3-way wood on Albany Beach. Friday it was hitting wedges. On Saturday news broke that he had a “big bucket”. Woods was at the back of the lineup to hit the drivers. And then on Sunday – in a red shirt, for the trophy presentation later in the day – he hit the drivers again.
This has fueled speculation that Woods could play next weekend in the PNC Championship with his 12-year-old son, Charlie. They played last year and towards the end Woods wasn’t even hitting the tee shots. His son was off a tee before, and although no one knew it at the time, Woods was getting ready for a fifth back surgery.
The tournament from December 18 to 19 in Orlando, Florida has reserved a spot for her. Carts are permitted with the majority of the field comprised of players from the PGA Tour Champions, which sanction the event. As someone close to Woods joked, “Charlie could be the pro of the band.”
No matter. Woods would play would be a remarkable comeback after injuries he said almost led to an amputation. A decision could be made by the end of the week.
The US Golf Association’s nominating committee nominated Fred Perpall as president-elect, which would make him the first black president in the USGA’s 128-year history.
Stuart Francis has been appointed to serve the third and final year of his term as President. The official election is February 19 in Carlsbad, California.
Perpall is originally from the Bahamas and lives in Dallas, where the registered architect is CEO of The Beck Group. He played basketball and tracked at the University of Texas at Arlington and played for the Bahamian National Basketball Team in 1994.
He is completing his third year on the USGA Executive Committee, where he chairs the Championship Committee and sits on the Amateur Status Committee.
MEMORIES OF THE TIGER
The World Golf Hall of Fame has confirmed that its induction ceremony will take place on March 9 during the Players’ Championship at the new PGA Tour headquarters. The four inductees are Tiger Woods, Susie Maxwell Berning, Tim Finchem and the late Marion Hollins.
To get in the mood, the Hall of Fame opened an exhibit over the weekend of artefacts and personal items from the new inductees.
For Woods, that included his red turtleneck and Masters 2019 player credentials, his fifth win at Augusta and his 15th major. A plaque from Woods’ first hole in one shot when he was 6 is also on display. It was on the 12th hole at Heartwell Golf Park in Long Beach, California.
The plate includes the golf ball he used: Top-Flite 7.
THIS HOLIDAY SPIRIT
The Hero World Challenge is an elite 20 player field with no cut and cold atmosphere in the tropical Bahamian climate. This does not mean that the navigation is always smooth.
Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson were involved in the last number of rules. The 17th par-3 tee was moved to the teeing ground used on the # 9 all week, and as the first group to start they started the ninth hole from the 17th tee. They had to replay and add two hits to the score.
“I didn’t think we were going to be penalized because it’s a charity event,” Spieth said with a smile.
There had been no charity last time in Albany in 2019. Patrick Reed was in a waste area just and to the left of the green on the 11th par 5 when he picked up sand in front of his ball before firing.
It became a penalty after his turn for improving his lie. What has not improved is its reputation. He followed him to Australia for the Presidents Cup and likely would have lingered had it not been for the pandemic to stop.
The year before ? Tiger Woods delivers a remarkable shot from the base of a bush, his right knee on the ground and his left knee straight. He didn’t take much backswing, raising the question of whether he got it back. In the high-definition replays, officials determined he didn’t, but he did hit the ball twice.
Of course, quirks aren’t relegated to Albany.
Remember Sherwood about 20 years ago, when two men crept into the locker room during pro-am dinner and left with equipment, including three holds belonging to Woods.
Rich Beem nearly interrupted the burglary when the men heard someone arrive and start playing pool. Beem joined them, even picking up a wedge and thinking it looked like a great pro-am giveaway. Too bad he didn’t take a closer look to see “TW” stamped on the bottom.
The men were caught, but never charged, and the equipment returned.
The holiday season, indeed.
Brooks Koepka feels fit enough to work on a trip to Montana during the short offseason to go skiing, which he describes as one of his passions.
Henrik Stenson is also planning a trip to Montana with his family, who naturally come to Swede.
Who is most likely to be injured?
Stenson laughed at the question when he heard who else was going before offering a confession.
He was skiing with the family, going slowly when he checked out his son, Karl.
“I took an advantage,” Stenson said.
He fell forward and landed on his ribs, which wasn’t the best feeling. In fact, he said they were still sore during his run through the players ‘and masters’ championship.
Matthias Schmid, who played college golf in Louisville, won the Sir Henry Cotton Award as Rookie of the Year on the European Tour. He is the first German to win the award since Martin Kaymer in 2007. … Justin Thomas returns to defend his title in the PNC Championship with his father, Mike, a longtime professional at the club. … Adam Scott is the latest player to join the American Junior Golf Association to host a junior event. These will be 78 players selected by the AJGA, the Japan Golf Association and Golf Australia at Ridge Golf Club in Los Angeles from February 18 to 21, the same week as the Genesis Invitational in Riviera. … Four players outside the top 100 at the start of the year will end up in the top 50 – Sam Burns, Max Homa, Min Woo Lee and Takumi Kanaya.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Scottie Scheffler has won 260.625 points in the world rankings this year, the most players without winning a tournament.
“You’re only as good as your last hole.” – Jordan Spieth, after a 76 in his last round of 2021 at the Hero World Challenge which featured a double bogey and two triple bogeys. He finished with a birdie.
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