Tiger Woods is in ‘go-mode,’ major winner says. Could return be near?
Tiger Woods is in “go-mode for something,” Stewart Cink says. Or put another way:
Let your comeback speculation continue, Woods’ fans.
Cink’s revelation came during an interview with Golf Channel’s George Savaricas ahead of this week’s World Wide Technology Championship, where Woods had been watching. He’s the designer of the event’s track, the El Cardonal at Diamante course. But no, Cink said, the talk wasn’t about the joint when they bumped into each other.
Woods hasn’t played since withdrawing during the third round of the Masters in April and undergoing another procedure on his right leg days later, though recently, there has been some publicly seen golf from the 15-time major winner. A video here. A short-iron video there. And Cink was curious.
“Mainly I just wanted to know how he’s doing,” the 2009 Open Championship winner told Savaricas.
“You don’t always get a whole lot out of Tiger Woods,” Cink said, “but he said that he started practicing, which I think is a great sign. I don’t know what he’s practicing for, but he said he started practicing.
“So that means he’s in go-mode for something, and I think we’re all pulling for him to feel as good as he can feel, and if he’s hitting golf balls, I think he’s going in the right direction.”
There are some questions here, and one is obvious:
What is “something?”
Could it be much ado about nothing, and Woods is just practicing? There’s always that chance. But you have to think “something” is something more. In about a month, Woods hosts the Hero World Challenge, and the 18-player event has announced all but one of its players, so there’s that. There’s also the PNC Championship in the middle of next month, when major winners are paired with relatives, and Woods has played with son Charlie for the past three years, so there’s that. And then there is the indoor-based TGL series that he helped form, and it starts in January, so there’s that. And next year’s majors, so there’s that.
Could what we have already seen from him also be a sign of a return?
Perhaps. Woods isn’t one to put himself out in the wild unless things look right, and recently, we’ve had a few looks. In September, Woods was seen at Liberty National in New Jersey during an event. (There, in a clinic, he was asked for his best tip for amateurs — to which he said: “Don’t watch f—in’ YouTube. Go hit balls. Just beating balls.” And last month, during a junior event he hosted, Woods and son Charlie were playing holes at the Pebble Beach property’s Hay short course, which he designed. (There, a junior player made two holes in one, which led the bold youngster to ask Woods if he had ever made two aces.)
Woods himself has been mostly mum since April. Notably, he was added to the PGA Tour’s policy board in August as part of a shakeup as the Tour negotiates a partnership with the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund — and in a statement shared by the Tour he said just: “I am honored to represent the players of the PGA Tour. This is a critical point for the Tour, and the players will do their best to make certain that any changes that are made in Tour operations are in the best interest of all Tour stakeholders, including fans, sponsors and players. The players thank Commissioner [Jay] Monahan for agreeing to address our concerns, and we look forward to being at the table with him to make the right decisions for the future of the game that we all love. He has my confidence moving forward with these changes.”
Then this week, while scoping out his design, Woods talked with Cink.