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Sympatico: Where does Tiger fit with golf's changing landscape?

I’m on holiday this week, hanging with the kids and away from the golf course (though I did sneak in one round at Tarandowah…). In the meantime I wrote about Tiger Wood’s return to golf for Sympatico. If you want to read the column, it is here, otherwise here’s a taste to entice you to dig in a bit further:

“Years.”

That was the response from Tiger Woods yesterday at the site of the World Golf Championship Invitational Bridgestone Invitational when asked when he last felt this well physically. It is a bold statement for a golfer who has been plagued by injuries since 2008, and devastated by a sex scandal that destroyed his public image.

With 14 majors under his belt, does this mean that the chase for Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 is back on?

Not so fast. Before people start handing tournaments to Woods, the golfer capable of dominating the game like no other in recent decades, one should consider how far away he is from his peak.
Woods hasn’t won a tournament – anything at all, including his own silly season event – since the end of 2009 when he was paid a ridiculous amount to compete at the Australian Open. This year he’s only played six times, and the last time he teed it up in a competitive round he lasted only nine holes before withdrawing. And at last year’s Bridgestone Invitational – a tournament he has won seven times – Woods finished dead last in an event without a cut. He’ll start the tournament tomorrow, his first event in 12 weeks.

Woods said yesterday that his Achilles’ tendon injury, the one that started at the Masters in April and resurfaced at the Players Championship a month later, is no longer an issue.

“The great thing is I don’t feel a thing,” he told reporters. “It feels solid, it feels stable, no pain. As I said, that’s one of the reasons why I took as long as I did to come back is that I want to get to this point where I can go ahead and start playing golf again like this. It’s been a very long time, and it feels good to go out there today and hit balls like this, go practice and feel nothing and walk around and pretty much do anything I want on the golf course.”

 

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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