At the PNC Championship in December, the golfing world was treated to a sight that perhaps they thought they may never see again... Tiger Woods playing a competitive round of golf.
This was because only 10 months prior to the event, Tiger was involved in a serious car accident that left him with the possibility of amputation of his right leg. “I’m lucky to be alive and to still have the limb," said Tiger in early December. "I’m very grateful that someone upstairs was taking care of me … (amputation) was on the table.”
Remarkably, Tiger made an unbelievable recovery and, what's almost as amazing, is that alongside his son Charlie, the father and son duo managed to finish in the runner-up spot, only two shots back of John Daly and John Daly II.
However, throughout the build-up of the event, Tiger himself was heavily downplaying any possibility of a PGA Tour return soon. He did admit that "it is realistic I'll playing the Tour one day, but never full time, ever again, but pick and choose, just like Mr. [Ben] Hogan did."
Now, it seems that one of Tiger's close friends has echoed those words. John Cook, who has 11 PGA Tour wins under his belt, is one of the select few in Woods’ bubble, and the American thinks we’ll have to wait a long time to see the 15-time Major champion play on Tour again.
“I don’t see it in the next 12 months,” Cook told the Golf Channel. “I think next time we see him will be [at the PNC Championship] next year [in 2022]. I don’t think his body will be physically ready. He can’t train the way he’s going to want to train.”
Despite this, Cook does think Tiger has his sights set on a return — just not anytime soon. “He’s never been a ‘show up’ guy if his game isn’t ready for prime time,” Cook explained.
“[But] I see it happening at some point otherwise he wouldn’t be testing a ball, shaping shots on the practice tee, working on a new driver that he likes. I think there’s a motive to that.”
Cook, who spoke to Woods following the PNC Championship, did have this to add “Talking to him, he was pretty open and honest. He said he was exhausted. He saw enough good stuff with his short clubs and his feel, but the long irons were falling out of the sky, but that was just from some mishits. But he said, ‘I’ll get that.’"
Although it is unclear as to when Tiger will make his PGA Tour return, what we do know is it feels so good to see him back in the golfing environment.
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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