Tiger Woods returns to PGA Tour

17 Feb, 2023 - 00:02 0 Views
Tiger Woods returns to PGA Tour Tiger Woods

eBusiness Weekly

Tiger Woods features at the Genesis Invitational, his first competitive start since The Open in July and first non-major PGA Tour appearance since October 2020.

Tiger Woods makes his long-awaited return to PGA Tour action this week at the Genesis Invitational, live on Sky Sports, with the sporting world relishing the 15-time major champion’s latest comeback.

Woods’ appearance at Riviera Country Club is his first non-major start on the PGA Tour since the Zozo Championship in October 2020, with the 47-year-old part of a star-studded field containing 23 of the world’s top 25 players and all the current top 30 in the FedExCup standings.

Woods hasn’t made an official start since the early exit at St Andrews, where he was forced to deny rumours about any possible retirement from the sport, although did compete using a cart in The Match and the PNC Championship – where he teamed with son Charlie — in December.

The limited playing schedule in recent years has seen Woods drop to world No 1,294, while question marks remain on what to expect from the 82-time PGA Tour winner when he tees it up on Thursday.

How healthy is Woods?

Woods had been due to feature at the Hero World Challenge in December, only for the tournament host to withdraw on the week of the event due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

The inflammation impacted Woods’ mobility and led to him being non-committal over his 2023 schedule, suggesting he “can practice, just not walk” ahead of the PNC Championship in December before adding that he should have been allowing his foot to heal.

Woods has offered no updates on his injury status but has previously stated that he would only feature at events if he felt like he could “compete at the highest level”, with world No 3 Rahm among those delighted to see him back in action.

“Great to hear,” Rahm said about Woods’ Genesis Invitational entry on Friday.

“After all he has gone through, it is incredible that he keeps trying. Everything he had on his leg and then you add the plantar fasciitis — I really feel for him in that sense.

“I know he’s going to keep doing everything he can to still try to win more tournaments and possibly get that 83rd win. It’s a true honour for all of us.

“Any time Tiger can be present on the golf course playing makes the tournament even better. So I’m hoping he can play comfortably and I’m hoping he can play well.”

Can Woods handle Riviera test?

Woods has always remained adamant that he would never apply to use a golf cart at an official PGA Tour event, which will leave him having to tackle the significant elevation changes around Riviera on foot this week.

“I imagine we’ll be carrying him down the hill on one and up it on 18, which no one would mind,” 2021 Genesis Invitational winner Max Homa joked.

“But it’s awesome. I’m really glad he’s back. I think we’re privileged any time he plays now.

“Obviously we don’t know his schedule. Seems like he’s going to try to play the majors, so it’s really awesome he’s playing a (PGA) Tour event – especially his event, one of my favourites. I’m stoked to see him back out there. Yeah, he’s always remarkable and you never know what he’s going to do. So it will be fun to watch him play some golf”

How did the players react to the news?

Woods sent social media into a frenzy when he confirmed his return via Twitter on Friday, where he stated he was ready to play an “actual” PGA Tour event, with plenty of players at the WM Phoenix Open delighted to hear about his comeback.

Former world No 1 Jason Day said, “That’s great. That’s awesome. That’s actually really good news.

“I’m actually really happy about that. It’s good that he’s out, he can walk and it’s nice to be able to see that. So, yeah, I’m excited to see him — that’s going to be fun.”

Tom Kim matched two Woods records by playing a 72-hole tournament bogey-free and becoming the youngest since him to win two PGA Tour titles before turning 21, with the Presidents Cup star excited to be teeing it up in an event with his idol.

“I think it’s great for the game,” Kim said. “As a player, even me a big fan of Tiger [Woods], it’s going to be awesome for him to be in the field. Hopefully I can kind of work myself up and kind of hopefully play with him if I get the chance.”

What is Tiger’s record the event?

Woods has had a special affinity with Riviera ever since making his PGA Tour debut at the venue as an amateur, when a fresh-faced 16-year-old announced himself to the world during the 1992 contest.

It’s a tournament and venue that has previously eluded him more than any other in his professional career, with Woods making 14 competitive appearances at the event – just 40 miles from his hometown of Cypress, California – without ever reaching the winner’s circle.

Woods missed the cut in his two appearances as an amateur but never finished outside the top 20 in his next eight visits – suffering the only play-off loss of his PGA Tour career when it was held at a different venue in 1998 before finishing tied-second behind Ernie Els a year later.

The former world No 1 missed the cut on his return to the event in 2018, his first at the tournament since 2006, before following a tied-15th finish a year later by finishing last of those who made the cut in 2020.

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