As each month rolls by in a pro golf world embroiled by the PGA Tour vs. LIV battle, it feels like we’re getting further and further from the Tiger Woods era. But according to one TV analyst and longtime friend of the 15-time major champ, Tiger isn’t done just yet.
Wins at the 2018 Tour Championship, the 2019 Masters and the 2019 Zozo Championship appeared to announce a new period of Tiger domination on Tour, but nagging back injuries and a devastating car crash invited the real possibility that we’d seen the last of Woods contending and winning on the game’s biggest stage.
But in a recent interview with Golfweek, former Tour pro-turned TV analyst Notah Begay, who played college golf with Tiger at Stanford and has remained a confidant since, revealed that Tiger is still grinding to get back on Tour.
“You know, based on level of discomfort, I would say he’s putting in an hour to two hours [of practice per day] still,” Begay told Golfweek. “That guy has got a high level of pain tolerance. He’s pushing it. He wants to play again.”
Begay also shared that Tiger’s fully capable of not only returning, but winning and breaking records.
“Don’t bet against him breaking that win record at some point down the road,” Begay said, “… I think he’s got one more in him, one more stretch of golf at some point.”
The record in question is career PGA Tour wins. Woods captured No. 82 at the Zozo Championship in October 2019. That put him in a deadlock with Sam Snead for the lead. He only needs one more victory to own the record all by himself, but even one win seems like a tall task at the moment.
Woods’ big moves this year have been made mostly off the course, vocally throwing his support behind the PGA Tour against LIV Golf and helming a players-only meeting this summer as part of that effort. On the course, he only made three starts, finishing 47th at the Masters, withdrawing after three rounds at the PGA and missing the cut at the Open at St. Andrews.
Last week, we got a glimpse at the current state of his game via a video of him hitting balls at the Nexus Cup at Liberty National.
One of the PGA Tour changes that came out of the aforementioned players-only meeting was the concept of having 20 “elevated” Tour events each year featuring the game’s best players competing for the highest purses. Currently Tiger has a spot in Open until he’s 60, and a lifetime pass to the Masters, but eventually he might need some help getting into the other events.
Begay offered up a solution to that issue as well.
“I think he should be allowed anywhere he wants. I think there’s got to be some sort of provision; anybody that’s made over a hundred million – he should have his own category. In terms of what he’s done for the Tour economically over the last 30 years and then just sort of as a de facto spokesperson now for what’s happening, he should be able to access those events.”
You can read Begay’s entire interview with Golfweek here.