No one, not even Tiger, knows the answer to that question.
In December of 2016 Woods made a return at the Hero World Challenge after back surgery in October of 2015 which felt like plenty of time to get himself healthy and return to the sport, but his results on the course proved that he wasn’t ready. Woods was unable to play for long or be competitive and after withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic in February of 2017 he underwent yet another back surgery. This time Woods has sat out for nine months until receiving the green light from doctors that he is good to not only resume full swings, but return to the sport he once dominated.
Could that green light be the difference for him in this return?
His friend Notah Begay had this to say about Woods’ return in December at the Hero World Challenge.
“I didn’t think it was going this well, this quickly,” Notah Begay III said Monday. “I know how much patience he has exercised in the rehabilitative process, deferring to the experts on how much and when and how often. But he’s gotten the green light. That’s what you have to be cautious with Tiger – you give him the green light, he’s going to run with it.
“I’m happy for him. It’s a big part of what drives him. The fact that he still has the speed and the ability to compete with the world’s best players, it’s going to be exciting, provided he can stay healthy.”
Begay isn’t the only person to doubt Woods’s health, or his timeline for recovery, and while it feels like I’ve said this before, this time feels different. While no Tiger fan wants to get their hopes up, it’s hard not to because he is Tiger Woods.
Now ranked 1180th in the official world rankings, there is no guarantee that a return will go well for Woods, but one thing is certain, it will increase TV interest in the tournaments that he does participate in. While golf has shown that it can be just as exciting without Tiger in the field, with him there was always that chance of seeing something special happen. There was a chance we would all see him hit a shot that no one else could pull off, and he would make it look so easy.
Now we’ll see a different Tiger on the course. An older and hopefully much more mature Tiger that has learned that at his age and after all his surgeries, he has limits. If that Tiger shows up, plays smart, and can compete at a respectable level, it would be great not only for him, but for his fans. The only problem is this is Tiger Woods we’re talking about and he’s not going to trot out there and hope to make cuts. No professional golfer has that mentality. This Tiger Woods, just like young Tiger, he wants to win.
Will he? Probably not, but hopefully we get to see him successfully give it a go just one more time.