Tiger Woods has made a career out of thriving under pressure. After 14 major championship victories, 79 PGA Tour wins, and 106 worldwide professional triumphs, it would stand to reason that even after two back surgeries last fall, a recovering Tiger Woods could still hit a green from 102 yards away, right? Well…
As the host of next month’s Quicken Loans National, Tiger showed up to Congressional Country Club for a media day to promote the event, and in front of just a few dozen spectators, as opposed to the thousands and thousands that normally crowd around him on a golf course, Woods took three shots from the 10th tee across a pond to the green that sits just over a football field away. The original didn’t seem to be Tiger hitting three shots, but after Woods’ first attempt found the water, he tried again. And again, splash. As you can see in the video below, it looks like Tiger was ready to give up (not usually a Tiger Woods trait), but he was thrown yet another ball and the result was the same. At least the third ball hit the bank first.
While he probably didn’t have a proper warm-up session, Tiger Woods’ quick performance doesn’t look like one of a golfer that can compete at next month’s U.S. Open, for which Woods has signed up, which is merely a formality as he reminded everyone when speaking to the Washington Post.
“I also accepted my invitation to the Masters, too.”
Obviously, Woods did not tee it up at this year’s Masters or at this past week’s Players Championship, which was won by his new protege Jason Day, a tournament that was once rumored to be the start of his latest comeback. At one point, signs were pointing to Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament for that to happen, but as is customary with Tiger, he kept things a mystery when discussing his return to competitive golf.
“As far as my golf, I’m progressing. I’m getting better. Just give it a little time…
“If I knew, I’d tell you, because it’d be fun to know. It’d be nice to know that I am going to play on such-and-such a date. But I don’t know.”
Woods maintains that his strength is returning, but it’s his endurance that’s the problem.
“I need to be able to go out there and play and recover each and every day.”
While Woods’ return date remains a mystery, Tiger openly admitted that he did contemplate retirement due to the number of back injuries he’s suffered over the past few years, questioning whether or not he wanted to go through the rehabilitation process.
“It’s brutal. Do I want to go through that whole process again, of getting back? Some part of me said yes. Some part of me said no, because it is hard.”
Tiger Woods’ playing career will come to an end at some point. It happens to every athlete in the world, but will it happen sooner than expected for one of the greatest players in history? When asked after hitting his last competitive shot if he’ll become a ceremonial figure at Congressional (he’s hosted this tournament for 10 years now), such as Nicklaus, Palmer, and Player have become at the Masters or Jack at the Memorial and Arnie at Bay Hill, Tiger got very cryptic in his response. Pursing his lips, Woods answered with, “Mmmmm-hmmmm. Yep.” That led to this mysterious exchange between Woods and interviewer Barry Svrluga.
BS: “Really? How and why?”
Tiger: “”Ask me that question later this year. I’ll have a different answer.”
Tiger: “You’ll see.”
If anyone knows what that means, please feel free to fill the rest of us in. Only Tiger Woods knows what his future holds, and that’s exactly the way he likes it.
[Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Stringer/Getty Images]