Tiger Woods shot a four-under par round on Saturday in his first PGA Tour start since the end of 2020. However, he shot three-over par the rest of the way, including a 74 on Friday and 73 on Sunday. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t all bad for Woods. The fact that he got through four rounds of golf, made the cut and finished in the top-50 was an accomplishment in and of itself.
Woods admits that this week, progress has been made, but also knows that his competitive days moving forward will likely be the four majors and little if anything else. As much practice and simulation Woods does at home, it’s not the same as in a PGA tournament. The intensity, focus, and grind are at a completely different level.
There were flashes of the Tiger of old, including three straight birdies to end Thursday’s opening round and his 67 on Saturday was better than most of the players in the field. While Woods wasn’t fantastic in any one aspect of his game this week, his swing speed and iron play was better than anticipated. His 180-mph ball speed, which is well above the PGA Tour average of the low 170s was more remarkable considering he can’t use much of his right leg to push off since the car accident two years ago.
More important is the fact that Woods was in the field. His presence outweighs anything he does on the course, although Woods would want nothing more than to earn PGA Tour win number 83 to pass Sam Snead for first all-time.
Whether or not his health improves to the point where he can prepare and walk as he wants to be at the top of his game remains to be seen. Woods admits that this is highly unlikely, which means fans are likely to see moments of past greatness combined with the reality of the current situation. If that means another week of greatness to earn a win, that is the icing on the cake. Just Woods being out there is great for the game.
Enjoy it while we can.
Featured Img Src: gomattolson from Minneapolis, Minnesota, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.