Tiger Woods is making what feels like his 15th return to professional golf this week at the Hero World Challenge. His fans and media members alike have all been waiting for this to see whether Tiger can return without suffering yet another injury. It would be a positive for both Tiger and the sport if he were able to return and compete on the PGA Tour and according to Brad Faxon, it looks like he will.
Faxon played with Woods, Dustin Johnson, and Donald Trump over the Thanksgiving holiday and had nothing but positive things to say about Woods.
VIA Golfweek: “Tiger looked great to me,” Faxon said. “He was happy and, more than anything, he’s finally pain-free. The issues he had with the back the last couple of comebacks seem to be gone. He looked effortless, he looked free, he had some power.
“I was impressed with how far he hit the ball. Probably on the 10 holes that they were both hitting driver, Tiger hit it past Dustin half the time and Dustin hit it past Tiger half the time. He looked great. I think more than anything, he looked at ease. He was not concerned about swinging hard and going at it with driver. The ball flight, the sound off the club, all of it was right there.
“Tiger looked like he had all the touch shots down. On the very first hole he hit a pitch shot over a bunker that looked great. Hit some tough little pitch shots, tough chip shots and hit some close. Some to gimme’ distance. “
Now before everyone gets worked up, lets imagine Dustin Johnson probably not going at it 100% because he’s just playing around out there with Woods and the President, but all what Faxon said sounds positive. If Woods is swinging pain free and looks like he’s playing effortlessly, maybe there is some hope for a solid return to the sport.
Faxon went on to echo what Rickie Fowler said about Woods looking good.
“So, I witnessed first-hand what Fowler saw – A pain-free Tiger that looked like he was able to hit the golf ball and will be able to be in the mix again. I don’t want to make it sound like I’m saying he’s going to win next week. It’s obviously different playing a fun, casual round like this as opposed to a tournament. But he’s in a great place mentally and physically.”
The biggest issue Woods faces will be between his own ears. He needs to understand that he probably won’t be driving it past the likes of DJ and McIlroy often and his game will have to evolve into something more manageable. If he can get past the fact that he is older and shouldn’t be trying to out-drive the younger guys on every hole, there’s no reason to think that he cannot be somewhat competitive in a return.