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Tiger Woods is back, but how will his comeback play out this time? Here are four possible scenarios
4 Possible Scenarios For Tiger Woods' Return
Woods has now had four back surgeries so it would be foolish of us to simply expect him to turn up to a golf tournament and return to his former glory. Last year when he came back at the Hero World Challenge, it only took him seven competitive rounds before his body succumbed to the pressure and strain that professional golf puts on it. Will his body last longer this time around? We can only hope. Unfortunately the most likely circumstance is that Tiger's body breaks down on him yet again and we're left with just memories. That would be a tragic ending and it would be very difficult for him to ever return...this latest comeback has a real 'last chance saloon' feel to it.
Related: Tiger Woods 2017 swing analysis
2) Comes back, has success
If, and it's a big if, Tiger can get through his first two or three events on Tour pain-free we could see a possible scenario where he actually has some form heading into the Masters. Last year after he played the Hero World Challenge he committed to playing four events in a five-week stretch - the Farmers Insurance Open, Dubai Desert Classic, Gensis Open and Honda Classic. He only made it through round one in Dubai but his schedule leading into the Masters could look similar to that yet again. And if that does happen and he can have a healthy 2018, there's surely room for a few top 10s, top 5s and perhaps even a victory. In just his second round back last year, albeit at the very generous Albany, he posted a seven-under-par 65, and that was with 15 months out.
Related: Tiger Woods What's in the bag?
3) Major glory
Whilst Woods winning a 15th major is almost unthinkable, if he could get his body fit for a prolonged period of time he will win another major won't he? Yes he can't keep up with DJ but Zach Johnson has won two majors so that throws that theory out of the water. At his prime he was a level above in the head and on the greens. If he can find that mentality and form with the flat stick again then he could definitely win number 15. Whether that be at Augusta in 2019 or he maybe fancying the US Open at Pebble Beach in 2019.
Related: How Tiger's swing has changed
4) Comes back, dominates
Here's the scenario: Woods' fourth back surgery solved all of his problems and in the six months rehab time he refound the perfect putting stroke, and rebuilt his body and swing to a level that he can compete, practice, travel, walk and work out to a standard that allows him to play freely. His body is no longer an issue and he's good to go right up until his late 40s and early 50s, think Mickelson, Davis Love III etc. He wins his eighth Farmers Insurance Open in January before picking up his fifth Masters by plotting his way around and putting the field to death...he's now just three majors behind Nicklaus and has another six or seven years at the top level.
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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Honma TR20
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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