As he sat in his hospital bed after the horrific car accident on February 23, 2021, Tiger Woods had to wonder what was next.
Will he lose his leg, will he walk again, will he golf again, will he play golf again and can he win again?
It must have been a lot to unload, and yet he seemed to approach his recovery like the way he once dismantled the golf course and fields: methodically.
When Woods returned to the Masters in April, it was surprising that a 46-year-old would come back with a 50-plus-year-old’s body and make the chops amazingly well.
That week, Woods answered an important question: Could he ever play golf again?
It wasn’t what he calls “hit-and-laugh golf,” which usually involves cart rides, but a four-day 18-hole walk.
Tiger shared the focus that week with Masters champion Scotty Scheffler, and that was good because many wanted to see the former world No. 1 golfer at the highest level again.
The gurus were sure it was a TV series but, well, it was Tiger and Augusta, so it wasn’t hard to bear.
Unfortunately, Woods decided he wanted to continue with every major ring, even if he didn’t have the juice to win, compete, or even play 72 holes if he made the cut.
Is this what the golfing public wants to see, a player with diminishing skills limping around tournament venues pretending to be a legitimate competitor?
“I’ve gotten stronger since then,” Woods said of his stamina since Tuesday’s PGA Championship Masters. “But even so, it still hurts, and walking is a challenge. I can hit golf balls, but the challenge is walking. It will definitely be that way for the foreseeable future.”
What is the foreseeable future? With walks such an integral part of the game, you’d have to believe Woods would struggle in Tulsa, and he pulled out Saturday night after slaloming around South Hills on his way to a 9-Over-79.
After making the cut on Friday, Woods spoke about the difficulties of playing in his current condition and how he would have to do something physically to be ready for Saturday.
When asked to comment on his level of discomfort using a scale of 1 to 10, Woods’ response was, “All of it.”
Obviously, what Woods meant was that his body was already done for him and he was just hoping he would find a way to get around the next 36 holes.
So on Saturday, both the syndicated media and ESPN recorded every shot Woods hit while simultaneously noticing Woods’ deteriorating health.
When Woods finished, he didn’t feel the need to explain his worst result in the PGA Championship and only later did the world find out that he had pulled out.
The PGA of America released a statement that said in part, “We admire Tiger’s valiant effort to compete here and Southern Hills.”
Was it bravery or just selfishness?
What is the tiger trying to prove and to whom?
With 82 PGA Tour wins including 15 majors, what does he have to prove?
Woods has talked about not wanting to be a ceremonial golfer, but how do you mark his seven rounds through the Masters and PGA Championships?
Was Woods competitive? Did he stand a chance of winning either event? The answer is no.
In fact, as the tournaments progressed, Woods focused more on his physical issues versus his level of golf.
So, we’re now waiting to see if Woods will hop on his private jet and fly from Jupiter, Florida, to Boston for a scouting run at a track he likely hasn’t played since the 1999 Ryder Cup.
We hope this trip never happens. Woods is not yet a competitor and will not be a competitor in two months’ time at the British Open at the Old Course in St Andrews.
Woods obviously needs a lot of time off, and I’m not really interested in watching Woods rehabilitate in the major leagues and take places from more deserving players.
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