Tiger Woods is back… sort of

Tiger Woods return to competitive action in Phoenix did not go as he would have hoped

Tiger Woods had much to ponder in yesterday's inauspicious 2015 debut in Phoenix
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tiger Woods is back… well sort of, for the man who made his 2015 debut in yesterday’s opening round in Phoenix clearly has much work to do…

Yesterday’s return of the great one in the Waste Management Phoenix Open failed to live up to the tournament promoters’ dreams, for having finally enticed him back after 14 years away, the Tiger Woods who turned up yesterday seemed a shadow of the man who created one of the loudest roars even he has ever heard when he holed in one in the crucible of the 16th hole here back in 1997.

Woods got away poorly in the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open cramming two bogeys and a double into his opening four holes before bagging his first competitive birdie of 2015 on the 5th. But it was an error-strewn display with his short game looking just as suspect as it had been in his own tournament at the tail end of 2014. Yes, he’s a little ring-rusty; yes, he’s older than he once was; and yes, he is going through the turmoil of swing changes once again with new coach, Chris Como. But this was a lacklustre display that will have set alarm bells ringing among all those who need an on-form Tiger back in the game.

Yet in amongst it all there were positives, with Tiger also hitting what was almost certainly the shot of the day when he all but holed his second shot on the par-5 13th for a kick-in eagle, before adding another birdie on 17 to salvage a degree of two-over par respectability from a round that looked to be heading for much worse than that for much of the way.

It will be interesting to see how quickly Wood’s new swing settles in over the coming weeks and months, but perhaps of more interest will be to see what happens to a short game that was once revered throughout the golfing world but which now seems to be undergoing some kind of major crisis. With Woods starting round two just as slowly as round one as I write this, it seems the great man is destined to endure just missed cut number 12 in his 17-year-long PGA Tour career…

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response