Tiger Woods is a new man, or so all the reports say. Since his last of many surgeries, Woods is pain free and hitting the ball with power and precision, making his return even more anticipated than usual.
Sure, Woods returned to the field the same time last year at the Hero World Challenge and that ended up being a flop, but this time around he has spoken to the media about his spinal fusion surgery has alleviated the pain in his back that he’s felt for years. He’s played rounds with Rickie Fowler and most recently with the President of the United States and Dustin Johnson, the current No. 1 golfer in the world.
Both groups have reported that Woods is hitting the ball well and even outdrove Rickie when they played together and texted Davis Love III, “Daniel Berger too,” another young competitor. He played in the Bahamas on Sunday in 2 hours with his caddie and a cart and looked relaxed and fit to those observing.
“I am a little surprised,” Woods said about his swing Sunday. “The fact that I don’t have any pain in my lower back compared to what I was living with for years, it’s just remarkable.”
Of course playing a fun, casual round with friends is different than being in the mix with the top players in the world, but the fact that he is pain free is a HUGE step up from last year’s “comeback”. There is a different air to his return, so what can we expect from the Masters champ this week?
Tiger Woods will be teeing it up Friday with only 18 of golf’s top players. This has to be one of the smallest fields to play competitively but they are still the best in the world. The 18 he will be up against are: Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, and Jordan Spieth, Daniel Berger, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, Alex Noren, Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood, Kevin Chappell, Charlie Hoffman, and Kevin Kisner.
If the reports are true and he is hitting the ball farther than Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson — or at least at the same level as them — then seeing him compete against them will be extremely exciting. Last year when he competed, he ended up in 15th place out of 18, which wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either. This year, being pain free, will hopefully allow him to have a much better finish, which in turn would be an amazing thing for the golf world.
He’s comfortable here. It’s his foundation. The pressure is on him but it also seems like he’s ready. He wants to be there and he keeps saying he’s not in any pain, so this bodes well for his return. If he plays well and consistently, we could see a bit of old Tiger magic. If he hasn’t fixed his swing and tweaks his back again, it could finally be the end.
Everything points to him playing well again, though. Woods is back and this week could be the start of some major change.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) November 21, 2017