Over the past few weeks there have been many things written and said about Tiger Woods’ future on the PGA Tour. Some of those things have been very positive and some have been quite the opposite. Woods has now withdrawn from or missed the cut 11 times in his last 23 events, but according to Tiger’s friend Notah Begay III the 14-time major champion is still optimistic.
Begay offered his opinion during a phone appearance on Golf Channel’s Golf Central:
“Well initially it was pre-withdrawal. We were talking about the first round and just trying to get a sense of where his body was at and disappointment and just going out there and not putting together a very good effort at all and the emphasis and the focus was on the performance.
“That’s certainly where it’s been up to this point and then a surprising withdrawal and within a few hours after he landed we had a brief chat and talked a little bit about the Super Bowl and maybe some things that weren’t golf related, but at the end of the day there wasn’t any real panic which I think is good.”
“There was general understanding and some optimism which I think has to be a part of this entire process. Of course everybody’s got an opinion and I defer to Tiger and his understanding of where he’s at and being there first hand and seeing, and these are the things that I guess most people aren’t aware of. There’s been a broad change in his workout schedule. I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, I’ve worked out at his house in his home gym and it’s dramatically different. It’s focused. It’s less intense. There’s more focus on stability in certain areas.
“I don’t think that there’s any athlete that could have come back from something like this and to be where he’s at in this entire process I think is a positive. Certainly not where he wants to be and apparently not where everybody else wants him to be, but at the end of the day being able to play competitive golf and come out and at least have a chance to put some more work in and show some signs of improvement is a good thing.”
There’s no reason not to believe Begay when he says that Tiger’s workouts have changed and there’s no reason to believe that the efforts he put in in the gym prior to last season were causing him issues on the course. Begay’s comments are in stark contrast to those who believe that because Tiger still appears quite fit up top, that he’s still killing himself in the gym.
Begay also talked about Tiger’s confidence at this point:
“I think the key word when it comes down to any injury; I mean if you talk to any athlete who has overcome a tremendous amount of physical adversity, a player like Peyton Manning for instance, there’s a tremendous amount that the athlete does not know what they’re going to encounter. They going to encounter some because the body is going to push back because you’re older, you’re in your 40’s and you’re trying to do things you did in your 30’s and it’s not equitable. There’s not the degree of physical ability that used to exist and the athletes have to adjust and this is no different.
“Nobody knew, not even Tiger knew what the obstacles would be from a physical standpoint and I think hitting four fairways in round one of the Farmers Insurance Open and having to play from some of the deepest rough that I’ve seen on the PGA Tour, that takes a toll. A long flight overseas both ways that takes a toll and all of the sudden you have to do a reevaluation of, ‘Ok, what am I capable of? What are my thresholds and what adjustments are we going to make moving forward,’ and I think that’s where we’re at right now.”
The main thing to remember when it comes to Tiger Woods’ return is how HE responds to what his body tells him. If he continues to try and smash drives choosing distance over accuracy, he’s going to continue to fight violent swings from the rough, but if he optimizes his game and plays smarter he should be able to avoid further injury.