By the time Tiger Woods had put the finishing touches to a second-round 57 alongside his 12-year-old son Charlie at the PNC Championship, the rest of the golfing world had already plotted his route back to the pinnacle of the men’s game.
Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but what isn’t is that the 15-time major champion’s performance over the two days in Orlando was better than even his most ardent supporters could have hoped for. After this latest and perhaps greatest comeback, talk will now turn to when we might next see Woods in competitive action making his PGA Tour return.
And one person who knows the answer is fellow icon of the game, Lee Trevino. The charismatic 82-year-old, who is the only player to have appeared in every edition of the popular parent-child event since its inception in 1995, got the lowdown from Tiger after Friday’s pro-am, when Team Woods joined Team Trevino for a range session.
We had a great conversation yesterday,” Trevino told reporters at the conclusion of Saturday’s opening round. “It's beautiful, it would make headlines. You're not getting nothing from me.
“I know when he's going to play and when he's not. He already told me all that stuff. He and I are good buddies. I've known him since he was eight years old. Appreciate him very much. I know what he's going through. I've gone through these back operations and stuff and whatever time limit you give him, he'll beat it.”
Despite remaining tight-lipped over the details, Trevino's choice of “when” and not “if” is further cause for optimism. But not as much as what Tiger was able to deliver at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club. Having played less than three times in 2021 coming into the event, Woods defied the horrific injuries to his right leg and ankle suffered in February’s car crash to hit a host of shots he’d have been proud of even in his pomp.
New tournament record for consecutive birdies. A run at the trophy.Memories for a lifetime.Highlights from Team Woods' Sunday. pic.twitter.com/tyGr4bTJ6pDecember 20, 2021
En route to a solo second finish, Team Woods set a new tournament record for the longest birdie streak with 11 on Sunday, before falling just short of what was required to eclipse the formidable pairing of John Daly Snr and Jnr.
However, despite being happy with his efforts, Tiger once again moved to temper people’s expectations, admitting he still feels a long way off where he needs to be to compete with the world’s best.
“I'm not at that level,” said Woods in his closing press conference. “I can't compete against these guys right now, no. It's going to take a lot of work to get to where I feel like I can compete with these guys and be at a high level.
“As I told you guys in the Bahamas, I'm not going to play a full schedule ever again. I'm going to have to pick-and-choose what events, and even then, my body might not cooperate with that.”
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform covering football, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1, but he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing. He now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a handicap of 1. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
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