Tiger Woods had been away from golf for golf for 17 months before returning in December at the Hero World Challenge. Woods played well, considering his time away, and finished all four rounds and if you ask most people who watched him in the Bahamas it appeared like he was on the right track.
Then Woods stumbled at the Farmers Insurance Open and missed the cut, which really wasn’t a big deal outside of the fact that he had won at Torrey Pines eight times and things started looking a little more troubling. Woods’ next event would be the Dubai Desert Classic where he withdrew after the first round citing back spasms. After a long flight to Dubai, it is understandable that a man who has suffered back issues for a while that cost him time on the course would probably feel some effects from the flight, but then Woods withdrew from the Genesis Open which benefits his foundation and was run by his company and followed that up by withdrawing from the press conference he had promised to appear at ahead of the tournament as well.
Enter Pat Perez who is known for being a little less politically correct than many golfers. Perez, who has two PGA Tour wins, the most recent coming this year at OHL Classic at Mayakoba, did an interview on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio and had some pretty strong opinions on Tiger’s future.
“He knows he can’t beat anybody. He’s got this new corporation he started so he has to keep his name relevant to keep the corporation going. So he’s going to show up to a few events, he’s going to try to play, he’s going to show the Monster bag, he’s going to show the TaylorMade driver, he’s gonna get on TV. He’s got the Nike clothes, he’s gotta keep that stuff relevant.
“But the bottom line is he knows he can’t beat anybody. He knows it. He shot 77! That guy can’t shoot 77. What does he do the next day? ‘Aw my backs gone.’ He knows he can’t beat anybody!”
Then Perez dropped this line:
“Personally, I don’t think you’ll see him again this year. The guy can’t show up to an interview!
“If he doesn’t play Augusta it’s over.”
That’s quite a strong take on Woods’ return, but Perez is right when he says Woods has a reason to at least TRY to get back on the course. He’s got sponsors, a company, and there’s a lot of money to be made.
Woods only potential spot for a pre-Masters warm-up right now is the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Other than that tournament, Woods has very few options for a tune up.